Calls Biden 'worst president we've had in history'

Bagging Iowa, Trump vows to solve Israel and Ukraine wars ‘very fast’ if reelected

Former US president claims Russia and Hamas would not have attacked if he were still in office; doesn’t provide details on plans to resolve crises

Former US president and Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump, with sons Eric (2nd L) and Donald (R), speaks at a watch party during the 2024 Iowa Republican presidential caucuses in Des Moines, Iowa, on January 15, 2024. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP)
Former US president and Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump, with sons Eric (2nd L) and Donald (R), speaks at a watch party during the 2024 Iowa Republican presidential caucuses in Des Moines, Iowa, on January 15, 2024. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP)

Former US president Donald Trump claimed on Monday that Hamas would not have attacked Israel on October 7 if he had still been president, vowing to solve the situation “very fast” if reelected as he took a major step toward a rematch for the White House in November.

Speaking in Iowa after winning the first contest of the Republican presidential primary on Monday, Trump said that “Russia would not have attacked, Israel would never have been attacked” if he had still been president.

“The Ukraine situation is so horrible, the Israeli situation is so horrible. We are going to get them solved very fast,” he said, without giving details on how he aimed to achieve this.

Trump based his claim that Russia would not have attacked Ukraine on the assertion that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin “get along very well,” and said the same about his relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The former president vowed to “straighten out the world” if reelected, saying that global “death and destruction” have “never been like this.”

He blamed Iran, claiming that the Islamic Republic had been broke and unable to fund Hamas while he was president and claiming that as a consequence, there had been no terrorism during his four years in the White House.

IDF soldiers fire a mortar shell from southern Israel towards the Gaza Strip, in a position near the Israel-Gaza border, Wednesday, January 3, 2024. (AP Photo/Leo Correa, File)

Iran is believed to have consistently funded Hamas for decades, including in 2017-2021 when Trump was president. In 2017, Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar told reporters that Iran was then “the largest backer financially and militarily” of the terrorist organization.

In the immediate aftermath of the October 7 attacks, Trump criticized Israel for failing to anticipate the Hamas onslaught and called Defense Minister Yoav Gallant a “jerk” while praising the Hezbollah terror group as “very smart.”

Trump’s comments on solving Israel’s woes echoed statements made during his 2016 campaign in which he said he could resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict like he would a real estate dispute.

During his years in the White House, though, Trump alienated the Palestinians by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and opening a US embassy in the city. A peace plan formulated by his administration fell flat in Ramallah, and though initially accepted enthusiastically in Jerusalem, it has since fallen by the wayside.

Trump’s administration did, however, kickstart the Abraham Accords which began the process for peace between Israel and countries throughout the Middle East. Since then, Israel has reached normalization agreements with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco.

There had been an effort to get Saudi Arabia to join the deal, but US Deputy National Security Council Adviser Jon Finer said the effort was hindered by the lack of “anything that amounted to a step forward for Palestinians.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, US President Donald Trump, Bahrain Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan pose for a photo on the Blue Room Balcony after signing the Abraham Accords during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, September 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Trump romped to a landslide victory in Iowa’s caucuses — the first contest in the presidential primaries — cementing his status as the presumptive Republican standard-bearer to challenge Biden in November’s election.

Major US networks took just half an hour to call the race, with Trump taking 51 percent of the vote and opening an unprecedented 30-point gap over Ron DeSantis – the biggest victory for an Iowa challenger in modern history.

The Florida governor and Trump’s other main rival — former UN ambassador Nikki Haley — were locked at 21 and 19 percent respectively, with DeSantis projected to take the runner-up spot.

There had been questions ahead of the contest about whether Trump would be hamstrung by his legal problems, as he faces multiple civil and criminal trials this year.

But the extent of his victory demonstrated the 77-year-old’s success in turning his prosecutions into a rallying cry that has galvanized his followers as he prepares to take his momentum into New Hampshire, the next state to nominate, next Tuesday.

In his victory speech, Trump called US President Joe Biden “the worst president we’ve had in the history of the country” and vowed to repair the damage he claimed Biden had done.

This would be achieved, he said, by drilling for oil, ending crime in the US, giving police officers immunity, and paying off the national debt.

Migrants walk along the highway through Arriaga, Chiapas state in southern Mexico, Monday, January 8, 2024, during their journey north toward the US border. (AP Photo/Edgar H. Clemente)

He also promised that he would seal off the southern border for good, claiming that the “millions of people invading the country” through the southern border came from prisons and mental asylums and saying they were terrorists.

“We cannot have that,” he said. “We’re going to have a deportation level that this country hasn’t seen in a very long time.”

Trump also promised to make changes to the voting system in the US, alleging that there was a nationwide issue of voter fraud.

The promise was made in relation to his ongoing claims that the 2020 election, which he lost, was stolen. The former president has maintained this stance for over three years with the issue being the subject of some of his legal troubles.

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