Second GOP senator breaks with Trump on suggesting Russia rejoin G-7

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeCheney clashes with Trump Sessions-Tuberville Senate runoff heats up in Alabama GOP lawmakers stick to Trump amid new criticism MORE (R-Ariz.) on Friday became the second Republican senator to break with President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally MORE for saying that Russia should be invited back into the G-7, an influential group of Western economic powers and Japan.

“No, Russia should not be added to the G-7,” Flake wrote on Twitter, after Trump said Russia should again be a part of the group from which it was suspended in 2014.

Moments before, Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseSeveral GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Democrats seek to exploit Trump-GOP tensions in COVID-19 talks On The Trail: The first signs of a post-Trump GOP MORE (R-Neb.) slammed Trump’s suggestion to reinstate Russia as a "weak" move.

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“Putin is not our friend and he is not the president’s buddy. He is a thug using Soviet-style aggression to wage a shadow war against America, and our leadership should act like it,” said Sasse, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

Flake and Sasse are two of Trump's most frequent intraparty critics.

Trump caused waves before departing for the summit in Quebec by telling reporters at the White House that Russia should be at the negotiating table.

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

“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.” 

Russia was excluded from the group after it annexed Crimea, something that Western allies condemned as a brazen violation of international law.

Democrats also criticized Trump’s statement.

“President Trump is turning our foreign policy into an international joke, doing lasting damage to our country, without any rhyme or reason,” said Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerPelosi, Schumer slam Trump executive orders, call for GOP to come back to negotiating table Sunday shows preview: White House, congressional Democrats unable to breach stalemate over coronavirus relief Postal Service says it lost .2 billion over three-month period MORE (N.Y.).

Senate Democratic Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSunday shows preview: White House, congressional Democrats unable to breach stalemate over coronavirus relief On The Money: Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire | Jobs report poised to light fire under COVID-19 talks | Tax preparers warn unemployment recipients could owe IRS Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire MORE (Ill.) contrasted Trump’s friendly treatment of Putin to his sharp-elbowed negotiations with Canada, Mexico and the European Union on trade.

“Now watch President Trump grovel at the feet of our adversary and punish our strongest allies,” Durbin tweeted.