John Howard believes the world has to let Donald Trump make mistakes, after his much-condemned press conference with Vladimir Putin.
The former Australian prime minister said the US president had clearly made a mistake when he said he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence agencies.
"I thought he was wrong to have said what he did but he's now dealt with that and the important thing is to understand that people shouldn't take sides too much on Mr Trump," Mr Howard told reporters in Adelaide on Wednesday.
"I think one of the problems with the attitude around the world of Donald Trump is that people are either totally for him or totally against him.
"He's got to make mistakes and he did make a mistake on this occasion."
President Trump stood alongside Mr Putin in Finland and said he was taking the former KGB officer's word that he didn't interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
US intelligence agencies have found evidence showing Russian agents actively interfered with the 2016 election.
"I am no admirer of Vladimir Putin," Mr Howard said.
The former Liberal leader pointed to the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which is believed to have been brought down by pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine.
Mr Howard also said the alliance between Australia and the US was "rock solid".
"That alliance transcends the occupants of the highest office in the two countries," he said.