Former President Trump reportedly joked on Saturday that the U.S. should “put the Chinese flag” on F-22 fighter jets and “bomb the shit” out of Russia.
Trump made the comment to top Republican National Committee donors at a retreat in New Orleans, according to CBS News.
The network reported that the former president suggested that the U.S. should blame China for the offensive and then watch as the two countries engage in a conflict.
“And then we say, ‘China did it,'” Trump said, which, according to an unidentified source cited by CBS News, elicited laughs in the room. “Then they start fighting with each other, and we sit back and watch.”
The Washington Post also reported on Trump’s comments.
Trump sparked criticism last month for calling Russian President Vladimir Putin “smart” and “pretty savvy” as Russia began its invasion of Ukraine. A number of GOP figures pushed back on those comments, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.).
Days later, the former president appeared to shift his tone, calling the conflict in Ukraine “a Holocaust” during a wide-ranging interview with Fox Business’s Maria Bartiromo and urging Russia to stop fighting. He said Moscow had “to stop killing these people” and suggested that a deal could be reached to end the conflict.
During that same interview, Trump said he believed China would invade Taiwan sooner rather than later.
He said such an offensive would occur on a faster timeline “because they’re seeing how stupid the United States is run.”
“They’re seeing that our leaders are incompetent, and of course they’re going to do — this is their time,” he added.