Donald Trump shocked viewers on his pre-Super Bowl interview when he told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly: “There are a lot of killers. You think our country’s so innocent?” O’Reilly was trying to assess where Trump stood in relation to autocratic Russian leader Vladimir Putin in light of Russia’s recent actions in Ukraine, where it violated a ceasefire. Trump has expressed admiration for Putin, praising his toughness and “leadership.” Trump’s rhetoric put the US’s actions and Russia’s on the same plane.
But Trump’s team and GOP colleagues don’t share Trump’s admiration for Putin. Rep. Liz Cheney, Sen. Marco Rubio, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and even VP Mike Pence himself aren’t behind Trump’s seeing an “equivalency” between the US and Russia. Mike Pence said, despite Trump’s assertion, that the administration is “very troubled” by Putin’s Urkaine moves. McConnell told CNN: