WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump would have handled United States-Ukraine relations differently, garnering the respect America deserves, the politically outspoken business mogul said on WTOP Tuesday.
Trump — the head of The Trump Organization who hasn’t ruled out a 2016 presidential run — says the pro-Russian separatists accused of shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine must be stopped and if he led the U.S., respect for America’s power would have led to a different series of events.
“You’d like to take a stand where the respect would be great enough that this wouldn’t have happened in the first place,” Trump said on WTOP Tuesday.
Almost 300 people are dead after the Malaysia Airlines flight plunged into rebel-held eastern Ukraine last week. President Barack Obama accused the rebels of tampering with evidence and insulting victims’ families, warning of new sanctions.
“We’re not a respected country and we don’t have respected leadership at this moment and it’s a big problem for the country; a big problem for the world,” Trump said.
Still, European countries — not the U.S. — are the ones that should take a stand, Trump says.
“Italy is saying nothing, Germany is not taking a strong stance at all, Britain looks like they are starting to think about it. They are the ones that are much more affected than the United States,” he says.
Of the 298 people who died aboard the Amsterdam-to-Kuala Lumpur flight, 193 were Dutch citizens and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is working to have the rebel- held bodies returned to the Netherlands as soon as possible.
At this time, Trump says it’s important to stop Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has said he will put pressure on the rebels, but can’t resolve the situation.
“I think I became much richer because I can understand people and read people and Putin is not finished. Putin has got a long way to go,” he said.
Trump shared his thoughts a day before his new hotel breaks ground in D.C.
The hotel will be in the Old Post Office building — a more than 100-year-old structure located at 12th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. It will include restaurants, a spa, conference space and luxury hotel.
“It’s an amazing building that we’re going to save and preserve and have for a long time, so we’re really excited,” Trump said.
The hotel is scheduled to open in 2016. Prices for the accommodations have not yet been determined, Trump says.
“I have to tell you, we’re going to build one of the great hotels of the world.”