On Sunday, Republican Sen. Mitt Romney said that it is “unthinkable” as well as “almost treasonous” for anyone who values freedom to also be in support of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The senator from Utah was asked during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” about the “pro-Putin sentiment” that is held by some sections of the Republican Party.
“Well, a lot of those people are changing their stripes as they’re seeing the response of the world and the political response here in the U.S.,” Romney responded. “But how anybody, how anybody in this country, which loves freedom, can side with Vladimir Putin, which is an oppressor, a dictator.”
He went on to say, speaking with CNN’s Dana Bash, “He imprisons his political opponents. He’s been an adversary of America at every chance he’s had. It’s unthinkable to me. It’s almost treasonous.”
Romney continued on to speculate that conservatives praising Putin, who commanded the invasion of Russia’s neighboring country of Ukraine, are likely doing so for attention.
“And it just makes me ill to see some of these people do that. But of course, they do it because it’s shock value and it’s going to get them maybe more eyeballs and make a little more money for them and their network,” Romney stated, omitting any particular networks.
Several conservative figures have recently commended Putin, even while the threat of Russian invasion of Ukraine loomed overhead. On Tuesday, Trump called Putin’s justification for invading Ukraine “savvy” and “genius.”
Fox News host Tucker Carlson, on the same day, echoed statements from Putin, saying that the U.S. should not give attention to Russia invading Ukraine. Carlson later walked back some of his comments once Russia finally launched the attack.
ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: DESERET.COM