Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said the United States should consider boycotting the Winter Olympics in Sochi if Russia grants National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden asylum.
“I love the Olympics, but I hate what the Russian government is doing throughout the world,” Graham told NBC News in an interview broadcast Wednesday. “If they give asylum to a person who I believe has committed treason against the United States, that’s taking it to a new level.”
Graham said he knows “athletes would be heartbroken” but said the move would put pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“If you could go back in time, would you have allowed Adolf Hitler to host the Olympics in Germany? To have the propaganda coup of inviting the world into Nazi Germany and putting on a false front?” Graham told NBC.
He said he’s “not saying that Russia is Nazi Germany.”
“But I am saying that the Russian government is empowering some of the most evil, hateful people in the world,” he said.
House Speaker John Boehner flatly rejected Graham’s suggestion of a boycott later Wednesday, calling him “dead wrong.”
“Why would we want to punish U.S. athletes who’ve been training for three years to compete in the Olympics over a traitor who can’t find a place to call home?” Boehner told reporters.