Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Sunday took Republican presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump nominates ambassador to Turkey Trump heads to Mar-a-Lago after signing bill to avert shutdown CNN, MSNBC to air ad turned down by Fox over Nazi imagery MORE to task for praising Russian President Vladimir Putin as a strong leader.


“Putin is organized to challenge the United States across the world now. He views his success by pushing us back. We’re losing influence around the world and Putin is gaining influence,” Bush said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“He’s not an ally. He’s a dictator. He’s a bully,” he added.

Bush said Putin admires strength and the best way for the United States to counter him is to demonstrate strength on the international stage.

“We need a president that actually will stand up for American interests whether it's in Europe or the Middle East. That's how you create a better relationship with Putin,” he said.

Trump recently said it was a “great honor” when Putin this week called him “bright and talented” and the “absolute leader of the presidential race.”

Trump later said of Putin, “He’s running his country and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country.”

Bush took strong exception to those remarks Sunday.

“You don’t brag about what a great guy he is. He’s not. He kills journalists. Anybody that opposes him ultimately is pushed away,” he said.