Republican Senator John McCain slammed President Trump’s assertion about the moral equivalency of the United States and Vladimir Putin’s Russia in a speech on Tuesday calling that view “terribly misinformed” or “incredibly biased.”
“Vladimir knew there was no moral equivalence between the United States and Putin’s Russia,” the Arizona Senator said referring to Russian dissident Vladimir Kara-Murza who was recently hospitalized and may have been poisoned by the Russian government.
“There is no moral equivalence between that butcher and thug and KGB colonel and the United States of America,” the eighty-year-old Senator repeated with his voice rising and as he slammed his fist against the lectern, “the country that Ronald Reagan used to call a shining city on a hill.”
The Senator was referring to comments that President Trump made in a weekend interview with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.
“Will I get along with him? I have no idea,” Trump said when asked if he would get along with Putin. O’Reilly interjected, “he’s a killer though. Putin’s a killer.” That led Trump to respond, “We’ve got a lot of killers. Boy you think our country’s so innocent? You think our country’s so innocent?”
McCain’s response came in a Senate floor speech about Russian dissident Vladimir Kara-Murza, who testified before the Senate Foreign Relations committee on June 2016 about the state of human rights in Russia. Kara-Murza also submitted a letter to the committee during the confirmation hearings Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
According to Kara-Murza’s wife, he recently fell into a coma due to poisoning. Senators Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Chris Murphy (D-CT), the chairman and the ranking members of that committee, recently sent a letter to Tillerson urging him to “pay close attention” to the Kara-Murza case.
The Arizona Senator and his colleague Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are the two most vocal Republican critics of Trump’s stance on Russia which has not gone unnoticed by the President. He tweeted last week, “Senators should focus their energies on ISIS, illegal immigration and border security instead of always looking to start World War III.”