Trump breaks silence on Navalny's death – but makes no mention of Putin

By John Mercury February 20, 2024

Donald Trump has broken his silence on the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny – but avoided casting blame on President Vladimir Putin.

Mr Trump, who drew criticism for praising the Russian ruler during his presidency, spoke out in a post on his social media platform Truth Social.

The former US president wrote on Monday: “The sudden death of Alexei Navalny has made me more and more aware of what is happening in our country.

“It is a slow, steady progression, with CROOKED, Radical Left Politicians, Prosecutors, and Judges leading us down a path to destruction. Open Borders, Rigged Elections, and Grossly Unfair Courtroom Decisions are DESTROYING AMERICA.”

He added: “WE ARE A NATION IN DECLINE, A FAILING NATION! MAGA2024.”

Latest updates: Navalny’s family told his body will be held for two weeks

However, his statement was criticised by political rivals, including fellow Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley.

She wrote on X: “Donald Trump could have condemned Vladimir Putin for being a murderous thug. Trump could have praised Navalny’s courage.

“Instead, he stole a page from liberals’ playbook, denouncing America and comparing our country to Russia.”

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The life and death of Alexei Navalny

It comes after Mr Navalny died on Friday while serving a 19-year prison sentence on charges his supporters said were politically motivated.

Several world leaders, including US President Joe Biden, have pointed the finger of blame directly at Mr Putin, while Mr Navalny’s wife has said she believes he was poisoned on the Russian president’s orders.

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Russia’s government has rejected allegations it was involved in his death, with the Kremlin criticising the reaction in the West as “unacceptable” and “absolutely rabid”.

Read more:
What we know so far about the death of Putin’s critic
CCTV appears to show Navalny’s body being transported
Dozens lay flowers in Moscow – despite risk of arrest

Speaking at the White House on Friday, Mr Biden said: “Russian authorities are going to tell their own story.

“But make no mistake. Make no mistake. Putin is responsible for Navalny’s death.

“We don’t know exactly what happened, but there is no doubt that the death of Navalny was a consequence of something that Putin and his thugs did.”

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Joe Biden said he was both ‘not surprised and outraged’ by news of Navalny’s death

Canadian leader Justin Trudeau also said his death was a reminder of “exactly what a monster Putin is”.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer did not mention the Russian president when they issued their initial reactions to Mr Navalny’s death last week.

In similar statements posted on social media, the pair both described what happened as “terrible news,” praised Mr Navalny’s “courage” and sent their sympathies to his family.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron also said on Friday: “Putin should be [held] accountable for what has happened – no one should doubt the dreadful nature of his regime.”

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