President TrumpDonald TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe MORE on Tuesday argued he has been tougher on Russia than any of his predecessors, despite frequent criticisms from lawmakers over his relationship with Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Ideally we want to get along with Russia. Getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. Maybe we will, maybe we won’t,” Trump told reporters during a meeting with Baltic state leaders.
“Probably no one has been tougher to Russia than Donald Trump,” he added, citing investments in the U.S. military and NATO.
"Getting along with Russia would be a good thing, not a bad thing — and just about everybody agrees to that, except very stupid people."
The Trump administration, and the president in particular, has faced frequent criticism for its rhetoric toward Russia. Trump has previously claimed he's been tougher on Russia than former President Obama.
Trump expelled 60 Russian diplomats from the U.S. last week in solidarity with an initial move by Britain and other countries over the apparent Russian poisoning of a former double agent on British soil earlier this month.
However, lawmakers have criticized Trump for not speaking out more forcefully against Putin, particularly given the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russia attempted to influence the 2016 election.
Several members of Congress, including some Republicans, also hit Trump for congratulating Putin on his recent reelection, despite widespread reports of election fraud and intimidation.
The Kremlin said Monday that Trump invited Putin to meet at the White House, but the two governments have not begun planning the meeting.