Donald Trump's loyalty to 'savvy' Vladimir Putin has fractured the Republican Party

Donald Trump's loyalty to 'savvy' Vladimir Putin has fractured the Republican Party
Donald Trump with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2019, Wikimedia Commons

Russia's brutal war on Ukraine has caused some top Republicans to split with Donald Trump. The former president, who proclaims that "no one's been tougher on Putin" than he, infamously called the Russian president "savvy" for his move against Ukraine.

But as CBS News chronicles, many top Republicans are taking the opposite position in condemning the invasion. First it was former Vice President Mike Pence, who said in a recent speech that there was no room in the GOP for "apologists for Putin." Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who rarely diverts from the Trump doctrine, actually called for Putin to be assassinated.

"After the years standing by as their party leader questioned the value of NATO and traditional global security alliances, threatened to withhold aid to Ukraine in exchange for a political favor, and publicly took Putin's word over that of his intelligence agencies, Republicans are now arguing for every possible resource short of U.S. ground troops to help stop the war in Europe," CBS reports.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who more and more is trying to distance the GOP from Trump, said, the "vast majority of the Republican Party writ large, both in Congress and across the country, are totally behind the Ukrainians and urging the president to take these steps quicker, to be bolder."

Without mentioning Trump by name, Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri welcomes what he sees as United States' return to leadership on the world stage.

"There's been a pretty dramatic division between the traditional post-WWII Republican view of our leadership in the world, which is the one I hold, and those who wanted to follow a policy that was more focused on retreating to thinking that somebody else would fill our role in the world if we didn't," Blunt said. "And I think what's happening at the current moment, most Republicans -- and, frankly, most members of the Senate -- have shifted to what I would see as a more internationalist view of our responsibilities. And I'm glad to see it."

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