GOP senator: Trump call to invite Russia to G-7 is 'weak'

Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseIt's time to empower military families with education freedom Bipartisan panel to issue recommendations for defending US against cyberattacks early next year The Hill's Morning Report - Trump lauds tariffs on China while backtracking from more MORE (R-Neb.) on Friday slammed President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch To ward off recession, Trump should keep his mouth and smartphone shut Trump: 'Who is our bigger enemy,' Fed chief or Chinese leader? MORE’s call to reinstate Russia in the G-7, a group of major industrial powers. 

“This is weak. Putin is not our friend and he is not the President’s buddy,” Sasse said in a statement, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin, after Trump said that Russia should participate in the G-7 summit.

The summit began Friday morning in Quebec.

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Russia was suspended from the group, then the G-8, in 2014 after it annexed Crimea from Ukraine.

Trump on Friday said Russia should be invited back. 

“Why are we having a meeting without Russia being in the meeting?” Trump told reporters at the White House before departing for the event.

“I would recommend — and it’s up to them, but Russia should be in the meeting, it should be a part of it," he said. “Whether you like it or not, and it may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run.” 

Sasse condemned the move, calling Putin “a thug using Soviet-style aggression to wage a shadow war against America.”

“Our leaders should act like it,” he said of Trump.

Trump’s overture to Russia also drew criticism from Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerJewish Democratic congresswoman and veteran blasts Trump's 'disloyalty' comments Schumer says Trump encouraging anti-Semites Saagar Enjeti: Biden's latest blunder; Krystal Ball: Did Schumer blow our chance to beat McConnell? MORE (N.Y.), who accused Trump of “turning our foreign policy into an international joke.”

“The president’s support for inviting Russia back in to the G-7, just after they meddled in the election to support his campaign, will leave millions of Americans with serious questions and suspicions,” he added. 

Some Democratic critics say Trump’s friendly treatment of Russia despite evidence it meddled in the 2016 presidential election may be an indication that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia during the campaign.