CNN host Poppy Harlow argued on Wednesday that President Donald Trump is “actually tougher” on Russian President Vladimir Putin than former President Barack Obama had been.
During an interview with Harlow, Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida criticized Trump for kowtowing to Putin at a recent joint press conference.
Harlow noted that Trump had tried to walk back his remarks following the press conference by claiming that he had not meant to say that Russia most likely did not interfere in the 2016 election.
“You say you don’t get do-overs on the world stage,” Harlow told Deutch. “Are you at least glad that you did try to clean this part up instead of just leaving it out there?”
“It is not a question of cleaning up one word,” Deutch replied. “It looked like he was forced to read that statement about one word. That’s not what this is about. It’s about the president’s alarming performance, the horrifying performance in front of the world stage with Vladimir Putin next to him that leaves open the question, who is the president working for? Is he working for our own national security or is he working with Vladimir Putin and for him?”
“Yes or no — having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing?” Harlow asked.
“Yes, having a good, open relationship with anyone is a good thing,” Deutch agreed.
“Yes or no — let me follow up with you,” Harlow interrupted. “Because I get the rhetoric. We all hear how the president sort of appeases Vladimir Putin. We don’t hear him criticize Vladimir Putin.”
The CNN host continued: “But would you concede that his administration’s actions against Russia, be it the sanctions, be it the selling of anti-tank missiles to Ukraine, are actually tougher than the Obama Administration?”
“But it’s not in our interest to go on the world stage and to suggest that we’re rolling over for a country that hacked our election,” Deutch insisted, “that commits cyber warfare, that interferes in governments all throughout the world, and to do so next to a murderous dictator like Vladimir Putin, no, that is absolutely not in our interest at all.”
Watch the video above from CNN.