At this point, it’s safe to say that President Donald Trump appears to have more loyalty to Vladimir Putin than his own country. His appearance on Fox’s Bill O’Reilly really helped solidify that fact.
When asked by O’Reilly (who seemed to be giving our president a chance to redeem himself) about Putin being a ‘killer,’ Trump was quick to point out that America isn’t “so innocent.” What’s most shocking about this statement is that he spent his entire campaign spouting about how great his love was for America, but then he continues spitting at it with his love and praise of Vladimir Putin.
This isn’t going down well with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who was quick to say this about the Russian leader:
“Putin is a former KGB agent, he’s a thug, he was not elected in a way that most people would consider a credible election,” McConnell said in an interview on CNN’s “State Of The Union.”
“No, I don’t think there is any equivalency between the way the Russians conduct themselves and the way the United States does.”
After Bill O’Reilly characterized Putin as a “killer,” in their pre-Super Bowl 51 interview, Trump quickly defended the Russian leader with:
“We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think? Our country’s so innocent?”
While McConnell was careful to step around his feeling on Trump’s comments.
“I can speak for myself, and I already have about my feelings about Vladimir Putin and the way the Russians operate,” McConnell said. “I’m not going to critique every utterance of the president. I obviously don’t see this issue the same way he does.”
The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 4, 2017
McConnell also let his feeling be known about Trump taking to Twitter to insult the judge who temporarily blocked his travel ban order. Trump has spent the weekend shooting out several tweets about the ban block which is making Republicans cringe.
“I think it’s best not to single out judges for criticism,” McConnell said. “We all get disappointed from time to time at the outcome in courts on things that we care about, but I think it’s best to avoid criticizing judges individually.”
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) also took issue with Trump’s statement.
— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) February 5, 2017
“I’ll be honest, I don’t understand language like that,” Sasse said Sunday on ABC. “We don’t have so-called judges; we don’t have so-called senators, we don’t have so-called presidents, we have people from three different branches of government who take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution.”
President Donald Trump said he respects Vladimir Putin, and when told the Russian leader is “a killer,” Trump said the United States has many of them.
“What do you think? Our country’s so innocent?” he told Fox’s Bill O’Reilly in a taped interview aired Sunday on the Super Bowl pregame show.
Trump has long expressed a wish for better ties with Moscow, praised Putin and signaled that U.S.-Russia relations could be in line for a makeover, even after U.S. intelligence agencies determined that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign to help Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton. Putin has called Trump a “very bright and talented man.”
During Putin’s years in power, a number of prominent Russian opposition figures and journalists have been killed.
In the interview, Trump says, “I do respect him,” then is asked why.
“I respect a lot of people, 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,” Trump said, using an acronym for the Islamic State group. “Will I get along with him? I have no idea.”
O’Reilly then said about Putin: “But he’s a killer, though. Putin’s 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?”
When O’Reilly says he doesn’t know any government leaders who are killers, Trump says “take a look at what we’ve done, too. We’ve made a lot of mistakes” and references the Iraq war.
The Kremlin had no immediate comment. Democrats and Republicans took issue with Trump’s comparison of Russia and the U.S.
“I really do resent that he would say something like that,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., on ABC’s “This Week.”
The Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, distanced himself from the president.
“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,” McConnell told CNN’s “State of the Union.”
O’Reilly also asked Trump to back up his claims that some 3 million to 5 million illegal votes were cast in the election. Trump didn’t answer directly, but asserted that immigrants in the U.S. illegally and dead people are on the voter rolls. “It’s really a bad situation, it’s really bad,” Trump said.
There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the Nov. 8 election. Trump won the Electoral College vote but lost the popular vote by nearly 2.9 million votes to Clinton.
Trump recently announced on Twitter that he would call for a “major investigation” into voter fraud, but senior administration officials said last week that plans for Trump to take some type of executive action on the issue had been delayed.
Trump said in the Fox News interview that he will set up a commission to be headed by Vice President Mike Pence and “we’re going to look at it very, very carefully.”
McConnell, meanwhile, said he saw no role for the federal government because states historically have handled voter fraud investigations.
“There’s no evidence that it occurred in such a significant number that would have changed the presidential election, and I don’t think we ought to spend any federal money investigating that,” McConnell told CNN. “I think the states can take a look at this issue.”
On other issues, Trump said:
-California’s consideration of legislation to create a statewide sanctuary for people living in the country illegally is “ridiculous.” He suggested withholding federal funding as possible punishment.
-Plans to enact a replacement for the Affordable Care Act could slip into next year. “I would like to say by the end of the year, at least the rudiments, but we should have something within the year and the following year,” Trump said.
-Living in the White House is “a surreal experience in a certain way, but you have to get over it, because there’s so much work to be done.”
The Trump administration on Thursday revised recent U.S. sanctions that had unintentionally prevented American companies from exporting certain consumer electronic products to Russia. The change allows companies to deal with Russia’s security service, which licenses such exports under Russian law. The products were not intended to be covered by the sanctions the Obama administration imposed on Dec. 29 after U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia interfered in the presidential election. The White House denied it was easing sanctions.