WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement Sunday after Fox News aired an interview between President Trump and host Bill O’Reilly:
“Tonight, President Trump made clear he does not believe in America’s exceptionalism when he equated the United States to Vladimir Putin and his murderous regime. Such a ridiculous statement sends a signal that this White House does not in fact prioritize the United States but increasingly champions a Russia First Policy. It is offensive to the American people, veterans, and brave servicemen and women who put their lives on the line every day to protect our principles, liberties, and way of life.
“Political opponents and independent journalists in Russia have been attacked, jailed, and killed under Putin’s regime. Anna Politkovskaya, a world renowned journalist was killed in her apartment building. The former Deputy Prime Minister and opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was gunned down steps from the Kremlin. And this morning, another Russian opposition leader, Vladimir Kara-Murza, lies in a coma, likely the latest victim of the poisoning attacks that have become a periodic calling card of Putin’s thugs.
“Equating our country with an authoritarian, murderous regime is outrageous and reprehensible, even for Mr. Trump. All elected officials in the United States have a responsibility to speak up against the President’s dangerous rhetoric.”