President Trump recently made waves when he said on national news there was a comparison between Russian crimes and the United States. His comments drew bipartisan backlash, especially from his longtime opponent Senator John McCain of Arizona, who he criticized during his presidential campaign for being a prisoner of war.
McCain gave a small interview to Manu Raju of CNN on Thursday as Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He castigated the President for his defense of Russian President Vladimir Putin who he allegedly has a close relationship with.
The President’s comments stem from his conversation with Fox News host and pundit Bill O’Reilly, where he insisted he has respect for the Russian politician. However, O’Reilly described Putin as a killer. In response, the President drew a moral equivalence between our country and Russia. He said,
“We got a lot of killers. What, you think our country’s so innocent?”
There is no documented proof, but Putin is a former KGB agent and head of the FSB who allegedly assassinated several Russian dissenters who spoke out against him. Several of whom were reporters and members of the media who were critical of the Kremlin throughout the years.
Raju asked McCain if he watched the O’Reilly and Trump interview, and if so, what he thought of the President’s comments. He said the following,
“It’s really incredible. That the President of the United States would equate the greatest nation on earth — that has the greatest record of helping people all over the world — with that of Vladimir Putin, who is a butcher and a killer.”
This reaction is incredibly relevant given the fact the Senator signed the Russia Sanctions Review Act this past week. It requires the White House to submit to Congress a report detailing why they are looking to eliminate sanctions against Russia.
The legislation would make it so that Congress had 120 days to review the new sanctions, if provided, giving Congress the right to approve or disapprove of it. Last month White House advisor Kellyanne Conway said that all of this is under consideration.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the President said that if Moscow aided the United States in fighting terrorism, they would be willing to consider lifting more sanctions against the country. He told them,
“If you get along and if Russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody’s doing some really great things?”
Senator McCain said that he is very concerned about the potential of lifting sanctions against a country such as Russia. This is something the President has been criticized for by politicians on both sides of the aisle.
The intelligence community also accused the Kremlin of being dangerous and playing a role in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee. While Russia is certainly not a country that should be trifled with, history has shown that we can achieve the greatest outcome when our countries work together.
Look no further than the result of World War II to see what Russia and the United States can achieve when they have a common goal.