Election 2020

GOP Congressman: Trump Should be 'Out Front' Condemning Putin

A House Republican said that Donald Trump should not only stop offering praise to Russian President Vladimir Putin, but should take the lead in criticizing the strongman.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), an Air Force pilot who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was asked on CNN Wednesday about cyberattacks on the DNC and U.S. voting systems as well as the Dutch report finding it was a Russian missile system taken into Ukraine and then back across the border that took down passenger flight MH17 in 2014 — and whether Trump should condemn these acts.

“I think he has to be out front condemning these acts, because as the party of Ronald Reagan, we’re the ones that, you know, with all Americans, took on the Soviet Union and the Evil Empire. We’re the ones that stood for freedom for people that lived behind the Iron Curtain,” Kinzinger, who is not a Trump supporter, said.

“Donald Trump needs to do that. And I am confused as to why he isn’t. It’s one thing to say you admire [Putin’s] leadership style. By the way, his leadership style is authoritarian. I don’t admire that. But that’s one thing to say.”

But it’s another, the congressman continued, “to make it sound like you wouldn’t follow through on Article V in NATO, which is the reason we brought down the Soviet Union without firing a shot, not condemning the actions in Syria, not condemning — and it frightens me, no matter who benefits from it, the idea of Russia hacking into our election system and releasing e-mails and influencing our election, because that’s the kind of thing you read about in their old Soviet satellite states they used to have.”

“That doesn’t happen in America,” he added.

Kinzinger, who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in “the military community, the intelligence community, the reason you’re seeing a lot of them speak out now more [on Russia] is because they feel like this isn’t a message that’s necessarily coming through the administration.”

“You don’t hear the administration talking as much about the Russian nuisances they should be. And so you are seeing these institutions of government that understand this trying to, in essence, go about it in a different way,” he said.

“But people need to understand that, as terrible as ISIS is — and we have to destroy them — Russia is a big threat on the national scene to stability for our allies and anywhere else.”