The New York Times editorial board on Tuesday slammed President Trump for his recent comments about Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In an op-ed, the newspaper's editors said “Trump seemed to appreciate Mr. Putin’s brutality” and that the president “suggested America acts the same way.”
“Since taking office, Mr. Trump has shown little support for America’s traditional roles as a champion of universal values like freedom of the press and tolerance,” they wrote.
Trump in an interview with Bill O’Reilly shot back when the Fox News host asserted that Putin is “a killer.”
"There are a lot of killers. We've got a lot of killers. What, you think our country is so innocent?" Trump responded in the interview, which aired over the weekend.
The Times editorial noted that Republican lawmakers broke with Trump over the comment, adding that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHouse passes standalone bill to provide B for Israel's Iron Dome Pelosi vows to avert government shutdown McConnell calls Trump a 'fading brand' in Woodward-Costa book MORE (R-Ky.) later called Putin “a thug.”
“In fact, as he has worked to cut Mr. Putin slack, Mr. Trump has bashed allies and laid the groundwork for an aggressive campaign that could lead to conflict with Iran, which the Pentagon has ranked behind Russia as a threat,” the editors wrote.
Vice President Pence on Sunday said he rejected the notion that there is a “moral equivalency” between the United States and Putin in Trump’s comment.
“But no American president has done what Mr. Putin has done in silencing nearly all independent media, crushing dissent, snuffing out Russia’s once-incipient democracy, invading Ukraine, interfering in the American election — apparently on Mr. Trump’s behalf — and trying to destabilize Europe,” the editors wrote.