US President Donald Trump’s latest comment about Russian president Vladimir Putin has sparked protest within his own party. Several senior Republicans were quick to condemned Trump after his interview with Fox News.
As reported by the Independent, Trump suggested he thinks the US and Russia are morally equivalent. When asked by Fox News host Bill O’Reilly if he respects Putin, Trump replied: “I do respect him”.
He said he thought it was better to get along with Russia because they could help in the fight against Isis.
But “Putin’s a killer,” Mr O’Reilly said.
Trump replied: “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think, our country’s so innocent?”
In response, Senata majority leader Mitch McConnell told CNN’s State of the Union that Trump is “a thug”.
“The Russians annexed Crimea, invaded Ukraine and messed around in our elections,” he explained. “No, I don’t think there’s any equivalency between the way Russians conduct themselves and the way the United States does.”
Senator Mark Rubio tweeted: “When has a Democrat political activists [sic] been poisoned by the GOP, or vice versa? We are not the same as Putin.”
He added: “Only reason we should ever lift sanctions on Putin is if he meets conditions of sanctions and ends violations of Ukraine sovereignty.”
Representative Liz Cheney tweeted to say Trump’s statement was “deeply troubling and wrong”.
However, Vice President Mike Pence defended the president on NBC’s Meet the Press.
When asked whether Trump was creating a “moral equivalency” between the US and Russia, he replied: “No, not in the least. President Trump has been willing to be critical of our country’s actions in the past… But what you’re hearing there is a determination by the president of the United States to not let semantics or the arguments of the past get in the way of exploring the ability to work together with Russia and with President Putin in the days ahead.”