Conway: Diplomats’ expulsion ‘upends the whole narrative’ that Trump isn’t tough on Russia

Conway: Diplomats’ expulsion ‘upends the whole narrative’ that Trump isn’t tough on Russia
© Greg Nash

White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayJeh Johnson calls on voters to demand leaders 'adopt a more civil tone' in wake of New Zealand attack The Memo: Questions sharpen for Trump after New Zealand massacre New Zealand mosque killings raise fears among US Muslims MORE said late Monday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpJoint Chiefs chairman denies report that US is planning to keep 1K troops in Syria Kansas Department of Transportation calls Trump 'delusional communist' on Twitter Trump has privately voiced skepticism about driverless cars: report MORE's move to expel 60 Russian officials "upends" the narrative that he is unwilling to take a hard line against Moscow.

"It was decisive and swift action by our president, Donald Trump," Conway told Fox Business Network's Lou Dobbs, arguing that the move runs counter to the notion that the president has been soft on Russia.

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"I think it really upends that whole narrative, and it also shows yet again that this president takes action in a city that loves to talk," she added. 

Conway also pointed to a massive government spending bill that boosts military spending.

"Do you think that helps Russia?" she asked. "U.S. military getting stronger and bigger and tougher and better equipped?"

Conway's comments came after Trump ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian officials stationed in the U.S. as part of a coordinated effort by two dozen countries to punish Moscow for the alleged poisoning of an ex-Russian spy on British soil.

The move underscored the rising tensions between Russia and Western nations in the aftermath of the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury, England, with a military-grade nerve agent. Moscow has denied any role in that attack.

Still, Trump did not publicly condemn Russia. The president has repeatedly faced criticism from U.S. officials and lawmakers for not speaking more aggressively about Moscow and for appearing reluctant to denounce the Kremlin's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Trump also came under fire last week for congratulating Russian President Vladimir Putin for his reelection during a phone call, despite a notice in Trump's briefing materials warning not to do so because the Russian presidential election has been widely criticized for a number of irregularities.