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

Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseChina's Confucius Institute designated as a foreign mission of Beijing Big Ten conference officially cancels fall football season due to coronavirus Ex-NFL receiver Rep. Anthony Gonzalez: Big Ten skipping football season could be 'catastrophic' for athletes MORE (R-Neb.) on Friday slammed President TrumpDonald John TrumpUPS, FedEx shut down calls to handle mail-in ballots, warn of 'significant' problems: report Controversial GOP Georgia candidate attempts to distance from QAnon Trump orders TikTok parent company to sell US assets within 90 days 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 SchumerChuck SchumerIn the next relief package Congress must fund universal COVID testing Ocasio-Cortez's 2nd grade teacher tells her 'you've got this' ahead of DNC speech New poll shows Markey with wide lead over Kennedy in Massachusetts 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.