In an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, President Trump further reiterated that he seeks to mend fractured relations with Russia.
O’Reilly, at one point in the interview, began to hone in on particularities regarding how Trump views President Vladimir Putin.
In the Super Bowl pre-game show interview, Trump stated the following about his respect for Putin as a leader:
“I respect a lot of people, including Putin, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to get along with him. He’s a leader of his country. I say it’s better to get along with Russia than not. And if Russia helps us in the fight against ISIS, which is a major fight, and Islamic terrorism all over the world — that’s a good thing. Will I get along with him? I have no idea.”
Following this response, O’Reilly harped on the fact that Russian opposition figures and journalists have been killed by Putin during his tenure: “But he’s a killer, though,” O’Reilly exclaimed. “Putin’s a killer.”
Trump then responded: “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think? Our country’s so innocent?”
Since the interview, some of Trump’s Republican associates have begun to clarify their own stances on Putin and Russia, hesitating to approve of Trump’s easier-going rhetoric.
Related News: Trump’s Sound Bite About Putin Has Gone Viral (Video)
Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska said: “There is no moral equivalency between the United States of America, the greatest freedom loving nation in the history of the world, and the murderous thugs that are in Putin’s defense of his cronyism.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also revealed his own take on Russia during an interview on CNN‘s “State of the Union:”
“Putin’s a former KGB agent. He’s a thug. He was not elected in a way that most people would consider a credible election. The Russians annexed Crimea, invaded Ukraine and messed around in our elections. And no, I don’t think there’s any equivalency between the way the Russians conduct themselves and the way the United States does.”
In Russia, government officials from the Kremlin, such as spokesman Dmitry Peskov, have begun demonizing O’Reilly for his “unacceptable and offensive” labeling of Putin.
“We would like to receive an apology to the president from this respected organization,” Peskov told Fox News Monday.
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