ABC’s George Stephanopoulos repeatedly pressed Republican Sen. Tom Cotton on Sunday’s “This Week” regarding Donald Trump’s positive comments about Vladimir Putin, then finally called out the senator from Arkansas for sidestepping the question.
“Why can’t you condemn Donald Trump for those comments?” Stephanopoulos asked more than once.
While Trump has spoken negatively about the invasion, calling it a “very dangerous period for our nation” in a Fox News interview this weekend, he followed those comments with a CPAC speech in which he called Putin “smart” while blaming the invasion on the Biden administration.
“They so far allowed him to get away with this travesty, an assault on humanity,” Trump said. “That’s what it is. This is an assault on humanity. So sad.”
“You’ve been stalwart in your opposition of Vladimir Putin, [but] the same cannot be said for the leader of your party,” Stephanopoulos told Cotton on Sunday. “Are you prepared to condemn that rhetoric from the leader of your party?”
Cotton responded to the question by sticking to his own stance on Russia. “You heard what I’ve had to say about Vladimir Putin. He’s a ruthless dictator who launched a naked, unprovoked war of aggression,” Cotton responded.
“George, if you want to know what Donald Trump thinks about Vladimir Putin or any other topic, I would encourage him to invite you on your show,” Cotton continued when pressed further by Stephanopoulos. “I don’t speak on behalf of other politicians. they can speak for themselves.”
Stephanopoulos also pointed out a portion of Trump’s “Fox News” interview in which he said he had “no message” for Putin when asked what he would say to the Russian president as the crisis worsens. “I feel quite confident that if Barack Obama or Joe Biden said something like that, you would be the first in line to criticize them,” the host said, to which Cotton did not directly respond.
Watch the full “This Week” interview in the clip above.