Republican Sen. John McCain blasted President Trump on Tuesday for calling Russian leader Vladimir Putin to congratulate him for his re-election victory.
“An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections,” McCain wrote on Twitter. “And by doing so with Vladimir Putin, President Trump insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election.”
From New York Post
Trump earlier Tuesday said he “had a very good call” with Putin and announced the two leaders agreed to meet in the “not-too-distant future” to talk about the nuclear arms race, North Korea and Syria.
The Republican chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee also slammed Trump for making the call.
President Putin “does not deserve congratulations for his sham reelection. He made the outcome inevitable by silencing and disqualifying any credible opposition,” said Rep. Ed Royce of California.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Trump’s call to the Russian strongman.
”The president, once again, has maintained that it’s important for us to have a dialogue with Russia so that we can focus on some areas of shared interest,” she said at Tuesday’s news briefing. “At the same time, we are going to continue to be tough on them.”
Putin won re-election to his fourth six-year term on Sunday, amassing 77 percent of the vote in an election his opponents said was marred by widespread voting irregularities, including ballot stuffing and voter coercion.