Washington – Hours after President Elect Donald Trump praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, angry responses were announced from leaders of both the Democratic and Republican Party.
Earlier Friday, Putin said Moscow would not expel 35 American diplomats in response to U.S. sanctions against Russia, after Obama administration decided to expel several Russian diplomats in response to allegations that Russia had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign.
Trump tweeted Friday afternoon of Putin’s decision: “Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!”
Former independent presidential candidate, who also served as policy director for the House Republican Conference, Evan McMullin tweeted: “@realDonaldTrump alternates between embracing Russian subversion & downplaying it, but his support for Putin is constant. We must know why.”
He added that Trump “is siding with America’s greatest adversary even as it attacks our democracy. Never grow desensitized to this.”
Meanwhile, Democrat Senate Claire McCaskill,who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, wrote: “Our ENTIRE cyber intel community, best in world btw, agrees that this guy tried to mess in our election & the Russians are RT TrumpPutin love.
Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff also tweeted: “Putin IS smart. Knows he can get much of what he wants from @realDonaldTrump through little more than flattery. Sad, and dangerous.”
Trump pinned the tweet to his profile, ensuring it is the first thing to be seen by anyone viewing his account. It appears to be the first time Trump has ever used the feature. He also posted the tweet as a graphic on his Instagram account.
Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated the President-elect Donald Trump, rather than President Barack Obama, in his annual New Year’s greetings statement to foreign heads of state and government.
However, Putin did convey his seasonal greetings to Obama, his family and the American people in a separate statement earlier Friday.
Putin expressed hope that after Trump is sworn in as U.S. President on January 20, the two countries, “acting in a constructive and pragmatic manner, will be able to take real steps to restore the mechanisms of bilateral cooperation in various areas and take their interaction in the international arena to a whole new level.”