President Donald Trump's shrug at the description of Russian President Vladimir Putin as a "killer" drew a Twitter rebuke from Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and other Republican lawmakers Sunday.
In a Fox News interview that aired Sunday afternoon, Bill O’Reilly described Putin as a "killer” after Trump said he respects the Russian leader and believes he can work with him on combating Islamic terrorism.
“There are a lot of killers,” Trump replied. “We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country is so innocent?”
Trump’s remark has drawn much criticism, including a tweet from Rubio, who accused Trump of being soft on Putin when they were rivals for the Republican presidential nomination.
“When has a Democratic political activists [sic] been poisoned by the GOP, or vice versa? We are not the same as #Putin,” Rubio tweeted after an advance clip of the interview circulated over the weekend.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., echoed the sentiment on CNN's "State of the Union."
"Putin's a former KGB agent," McConnell said. "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."
Meanwhile, Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska told ABC's "This Week" that "there is no moral equivalency between the United States of America, the greatest freedom-loving national in the history of the world, and the murderous thugs that are in Putin's defense of his cronyism."
– The Associated Press and Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.
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