Republican Compares Trump to Navalny; Democrats Want Him to Die ‘in Prison’

Gun Rights

Former New York Republican Representative Lee Zeldin compared the death of Alexei Navalny to former President Donald Trump, saying that Democrats want to make sure the former president “dies in prison.”

“As the world reflects on the murder of Alexei Navalny at the hands of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, it’s worth remembering that Democrats are actively doing Biden’s bidding as they also try to imprison his chief political opponent, Donald Trump, remove him from the ballot, and ensure he dies in prison,” Zeldin wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

The Context

On Friday, the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service announced the death of Navalny, an opposition leader in Moscow who had been jailed for several years.

In a statement, the service said that Navalny, 47, was on a walk and “lost consciousness almost immediately.”

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“Medical workers from the institution immediately arrived and an emergency medical team was called…All necessary resuscitation measures were carried out, which did not yield positive results. Ambulance doctors stated the death of the convict,” the statement added.

donald trump alexei navalny democrats biden
Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump arrives at the National Rifle Association presidential forum at the Great American Outdoor Show on February 9 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. On Friday, Republican Lee Zeldin compared Trump…
Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump arrives at the National Rifle Association presidential forum at the Great American Outdoor Show on February 9 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. On Friday, Republican Lee Zeldin compared Trump to Alexei Navalny, saying that Democrats want to see him “die in prison.”

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

What We Know

Navalny was most recently jailed in Russia in 2021 after returning to Moscow following hospitalization in Germany. Doctors who treated him in Germany determined that he was poisoned with a nerve agent, and the Russian opposition leader accused the Kremlin of trying to kill him.

The Kremlin denied the accusations. Navalny was a vocal critic of Putin and other Russian officials.

Newsweek reached out to Trump’s spokesperson via email for comment.

Views

Vice President Kamala Harris blamed Navalny’s death on Putin, while delivering a speech at the Munich Security Conference in Germany. Harris said that the death shows a “further sign of Putin’s brutality.”

“Whatever story they tell, let us be clear: Russia is responsible. And we will have more to say on this later,” Harris added.

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley also responded on social media and took aim at Trump.

“Putin did this. The same Putin who Donald Trump praises and defends,” Haley wrote. “The same Trump who said: ‘In all fairness to Putin, you’re saying he killed people. I haven’t seen that.'”

In 2020, Trump was asked about claims that the Kremlin poisoned Navalny and said, “We have to look at it very seriously. If that’s the case, and I think we will.”

“I don’t know exactly what happened, I think it’s tragic. It’s terrible, it shouldn’t happen. We haven’t had any proof yet, but I will take a look,” Trump added.

What’s Next?

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told NPR on Friday: “Given the Russian government’s long and sordid history of doing harm to its opponents, it raises real and obvious questions about what happened here.”

President Joe Biden has yet to respond to the reports of Navalny’s death and it is unclear how the U.S. will respond.

Update 2/16/24, 10:50 a.m. ET: This story has been updated with further information.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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