Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul on Sunday blasted Donald TrumpDonald TrumpMark Cuban: My political future 'depends on how things play out' Biggest challenge to Keystone XL not political but economic Bannon encouraged Sessions to run for president before meeting Trump: report MORE's comments praising Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Trump said on MSNBC's Morning Joe this month that he was pleased that Putin had praised him and that Putin was a "strong leader."
"There are so many thing that are wrong with that statement on so many different levels," McFaul said on NBC's "Meet The Press." "First of all, Vladimir Putin does only things that are in Russia’s national interest. So for him to be endorsing Mr. Trump, that’s because he thinks it’s in Russia’s national interest for Mr. Trump to be the leader of the United States."
But McFaul took the most umbrage as Trump's comments, in response to a question about the Putin government's targeting of journalists, that "our country does plenty of killing also."
"The part I found most reprehensible when responding to that question on Morning Joe was the moral equivalency between what the United State does abroad and what Putin does domestically," McFaul said. "Trump basically said that what soldiers in Afghanistan are doing and what pilots in Syria are doing is the same thing as those who kill journalists in Russia. That is not in America’s national interest."
Putin said this month that Trump, who leads the race for the Republican presidential nomination, was "a bright and talented person without any doubt."
McFaul served as ambassador to Russia between January 2012 and February 2014 as the relationship between the two countries became increasingly difficult during the conflict in Ukraine.