Donald Trump thinks he has a lot in common with Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, likening his own legal comeuppance for fraud and rape to the plight of the Russian opposition leader, who died in one of Russia’s harshest penal colonies on Friday.
“It is a form of Navalny. It is a form of communism or fascism,” Trump said at a Fox News town hall on Tuesday evening, referring to his recent court judgements which are expected to top nearly $540 million.
That stems from losing just two cases: a defamation case brought by writer E. Jean Carroll, whom a jury determined had been sexually abused by the game show host, and Trump’s New York fraud trial, in which Judge Arthur Engoron ruled that Trump’s lack of contrition and remorse “borders on pathological.”
But using Navalny to make himself a martyr can only go so far for Trump, who won the 2016 general election in part due to Russian election interference that his campaign welcomed, per the 2020 report by the GOP-led Senate Intelligence Committee, and who consistently kowtowed to Russian President Vladimir Putin during his presidency.
Instead of condemning Putin for Navalny’s death—like President Joe Biden, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, and Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya, have—Trump instead opted to simply refer to it as a “horrible thing.”
“People thought that could happen and it did happen,” Trump said, vaguely referring to Navalny’s death before quickly turning the spotlight back on himself.
“It’s happening here,” he continued, claiming that his indictments are “all because of the fact that I’m in politics.”
Earlier on Fox, Haley took a stronger stance against the Kremlin, describing Navalany as a “a hero who challenged Putin” and “lost his life because of it.”
“This is on the heels of Trump saying that he would encourage Putin to invade any NATO countries that didn’t pull their weight,” she said, keeping the heat on Trump rather than the Russian dictator.
“He’s gonna compare himself to Navalny, and the victim that he is in his court cases?” she added.