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

Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseOn The Money: Senate panel advances Trump's new NAFTA despite GOP gripes | Trade deficit falls to three-year low | Senate confirms Trump pick for small business chief Senate panel advances Trump's new NAFTA despite GOP gripes Congress to clash over Trump's war powers MORE (R-Neb.) on Friday slammed President TrumpDonald John TrumpNational Archives says it altered Trump signs, other messages in Women's March photo Dems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process Democratic lawmaker dismisses GOP lawsuit threat: 'Take your letter and shove it' 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 SchumerSanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate implications Senators are politicians, not jurors — they should act like it 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.