Former President Donald Trump faulted Russian President Vladimir Putin for Russia’s attack on Ukraine, but once again praised him for his intelligence.

“The smartest one gets to the top,” Trump said referring to North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un who he called “tough,” Chinese President Xi Jinping who he called “strong” and Putin.

“That didn’t work so well recently in our country,” Trump added during a rally in Georgia on Saturday. “But they ask me, ‘Is Putin smart?’ Yes, Putin was smart. And I actually thought he was going to be negotiating. I said, ‘That’s a hell of a way to negotiate, put 200,000 soldiers on the border.'”

He continued on to condemn Russia and Putin’s actions with a caveat.

“I think [Putin] made a big mistake, what he’s done to so many people, but that was a big mistake,” Trump said. “But it looked like a great negotiation.”

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