The Trump campaign denies ever speaking to Serbian magazine

Donald Trump.
(Image credit: Gerardo Mora/Getty Images)

UPDATE: Donald Trump's campaign denies that the candidate ever spoke to the Serbian magazine Nedeljnik. "This was a hoax and we look forward to receiving a formal retraction and apology from all involved," Trump campaign official Jason Miller told Newsweek. The Serbian magazine is reportedly working to determine whether it was a victim of a hoax. The headline on this article has been changed, but the original post is below.

Donald Trump apologized Thursday to the nation of Serbia for Bill Clinton's decision to bomb Yugoslavia in 1995 and 1999, Newsweek reports. The United States' aerial attacks, coordinated with NATO, targeted Serbs who were committing genocide against Muslim groups in the region, but also caused hundreds of civilian casualties.

"The bombing of the Serbs, who were our allies in both world wars, was a big mistake. 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 told the Serbian magazine Nedeljnik. He additionally promised "a new policy with the Balkans" if he is elected president.

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While Serbs obviously can't vote in the U.S. election, there are several factors that could be motivating Trump's comments, including the fact that the battleground states of Ohio and Pennsylvania have large communities from the Balkans. But according to Southeast European Politics professor Eric Gordy, "the most obvious interpretation of [Trump's] statement is that it is another sign of alignment with Russia. To be honest, this kind of statement is usually more a symbolic attempt for Russian politicians to drum up resentment towards the U.S."

Gordy added, "I expect this is probably just rhetoric by Trump as U.S. policy in the Balkans has been pretty consistently supportive of Serbia since they waged the aerial campaign in the 1990s. Otherwise it is hard to imagine that the U.S. could be more pro-Serbia at the moment." Read further interpretation of Trump's comments at Newsweek, here.

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Jeva Lange

Jeva Lange was the executive editor at She formerly served as The Week's deputy editor and culture critic. She is also a contributor to Screen Slate, and her writing has appeared in The New York Daily News, The Awl, Vice, and Gothamist, among other publications. Jeva lives in New York City. Follow her on Twitter.