Republicans Distance Themselves From Trump’s Putin Comments

Comes after Trump compares U.S. to Russian ‘killers’

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., criticized President Donald Trump's remarks about Russia without mentioning his name. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican lawmakers are trying to distance themselves from President Donald Trump’s recent comments about Russia and the United States.

During an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, Trump said he respected Russian President Vladimir Putin. When O’Reilly asserted, “But [Putin] is a killer,” Trump responded, “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think? Our country’s so innocent?”

Several Republican lawmakers criticized the president’s assertions, The Associated Press reported.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called Putin a “thug.”


“Putin's a former KGB agent. He’s a thug," McConnell said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “He was not elected in a way that most people would consider a credible election.”

Similarly on ABC’s “This Week,” frequent Trump critic Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., drew a distinction between Russia and the United States.

“There is no moral equivalency between the United States of America, the greatest freedom loving country in the history of the world, and the murderous thugs who are in defense of Putin’s cronyism,” Sasse said.

On Twitter, both Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Rob Portman of Ohio both criticized the remarks without explicitly mentioning Trump.

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