Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Friday slammed Russian President Vladimir Putin with who GOP presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump's proposed ban on Muslims entering US a moving target Clinton camp blasts Trump over Brexit response: 'He patted himself on the back' Trump shifts immigration plan: No 'mass deportations' MORE has expressed mutual respect.
"Important distinction: thug Putin kills journalists and opponents; our presidents kill terrorists and enemy combatants," tweeted Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts.
His tweet came hours after Trump again expressed admiration
for the Russian leader during a television interview, where he was pressed about Putin's efforts to silence political opponents and journalists.
MSNBC co-host Joe Scarborough pointed out to Trump during the "Morning Joe" segment that Putin "is a person who kills journalists, political opponents and invades countries."
The host appeared taken aback by Trump, who brushed off the remarks and responded by stating that Putin is "running his country and at least he's a leader, unlike what we have in our country."
"Again, he kills journalists that don't agree with him," Scarborough, a former GOP lawmaker, reiterated.
"Well I think our country does plenty of killing also," Trump responded.
Romney, the 2012 GOP nominee, has rebuked Trump before, including earlier this month
when the celebrity Republican candidate announced his proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States.