GOP lawmaker: Trump should have hit Russia harder in speech

GOP lawmaker: Trump should have hit Russia harder in speech
© Greg Nash
 
“In hindsight, in retrospect, he should have talked about the bad behavior of Russia, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin in particular, how they’re trying to undermine American power,” Dent told reporters in the Capitol after the address.
 
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Trump mentioned Russia only once during the speech, which clocked in well over an hour, and omitted any mention of the country's meddling in the 2016 election. Multiple investigations are looking into whether Trump's campaign coordinated with the Kremlin during the election.
 
“Around the world, we face rogue regimes, terrorist groups, and rivals like China and Russia that challenge our interests, our economy, and our values. In confronting these dangers, we know that weakness is the surest path to conflict, and unmatched power is the surest means of our defense,” Trump said.
 
Dent said it’s no surprise that Trump didn't mention the ongoing investigations by Congress and the FBI into whether his campaign coordinated with the Russian government. But he thinks Trump should have at least condemned Russia for its actions.
 
“My advice to the president has always been that he should talk less about the Russia investigation and let [special counsel Robert] Mueller do his work,” Dent said. 
 
“But he should talk about their terrible meddling and intervention in our election.” 
 
Trump, by contrast, spoke at length about North Korea, maintaining that “past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation.” 
 
He then shared the story of a North Korean defector, Ji Seong-ho, who sat in the visitors’ gallery as a guest of the White House. 
 
But Trump made no mention of efforts to punish Russia for its election interference in 2016 or prevent future meddling in the upcoming midterm elections for the House and Senate this year.
 
Trump’s address came a day after his administration announced that it declined to implement new sanctions on Russia established by Congress in bipartisan legislation enacted last year. The Trump administration told Congress that the legislation itself is already “serving as a deterrent.”