Both Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) took issue with President Donald Trump's defense of Russian President Vladimir Putin Sunday.
Trump, in a widely promoted pre-Super Bowl interview Sunday with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, answered a question about Putin being a killer with an assertion that the U.S. is not "so innocent" and has "a lot of killers" itself.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle expressed dismay that the president would compare America to Russia by suggesting that the U.S. engages in extrajudicial killings. Putin has also been notoriously brutal in war as well as to domestic political enemies.
Rubio wrote on Twitter that the comparison was particularly egregious given Putin's long-suspected role in the dioxin poisoning of former President of Ukraine Victor Yushenko. He also expressed his belief that economic sanctions on Russia, imposed after Putin's invasion of Ukraine, should not be easily lifted.
When has a Democratic political activists been poisoned by the GOP, or vice versa? We are not the same as #Putin. MR— Marco Rubio (@Marco Rubio)1486303150.0
Only reason we should ever lift sanctions on #Putin is if he meets conditions of sanctions & ends violations of #ukraine sovereignty. MR— Marco Rubio (@Marco Rubio)1486314821.0
McConnell also objected to the comparisons, telling CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union," that he doesn't "think there is any equivalency between the way the Russians conduct themselves and the way the United States does."