Donald Trump has apologized to Serbia for the 1999 bombing campaign when Bill Clinton was president, a move that puts him in line with Russian rhetoric used to rally Serbians against the United States.
“The bombing of Serbs, who were our allies in both world wars, was a big mistake,” Trump told the Serbian weekly magazine Nedeljnik, the story was reported in English by Newsweek. “Serbians are very good people. Unfortunately, the Clinton administration caused them a lot of harm, but also throughout the Balkans, which they made a mess out of.”
Trump promised to adopt “a new policy with the Balkans” if he becomes president.
The interview was conducted via email through a Trump adviser.
While the decision to bomb Serbia — in 1995 and 1999 — did have civilian casualties, it stopped Serbian militias from ethnic cleansing against people in the former Yugoslavia, including Muslims and Croatians.
Slobodan Milosevic, the Serbian leader responsible for atrocities in the former Yugoslav republic of Kosovo, was arrested and tried for war crimes in The Netherlands. He died in prison in 2006.
Trump’s apology to another country contradicts what he has criticized President Obama of doing.
Earlier this summer — following the president’s trip to Asia which included a trip to Hiroshima, Japan — Trump criticized Obama for an “apology tour” that led to the Islamic State.
“We’ve tried it President Obama’s way, doesn’t work. He gave the world his apology tour. We got ISIS and many other problems in return. That’s what we got. Remember the famous apology tour? ‘We’re sorry for everything,’” Trump said in New Hampshire.
Obama never went on an “apology tour,” as Trump and other critics have claimed.
Thursday’s story comes as accusations that Russia is attempting to rig the election for Trump. There have been a series of hacks of Democrats including transcripts of Hillary Clinton’s paid speeches, members of the Democratic National Committee and most recently Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta.
“I’ve been involved in politics for nearly five decades. And this definitely is the first campaign that I’ve been involved with in which I’ve had to tangle with Russian Intelligence agencies,” Podesta told reporters on board Clinton’s campaign plane. Podesta added that Russia “seem[s] to be doing everything they can on behalf of our opponent.”
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