Sen. Ben Sasse responds to President Trump's statement that he respects Russian President Vladimir Putin because there are "a lot of killers." "You think our country is so innocent?" Trump quipped.
He tells ABC's George Stephanopoulos: "Putin is an enemy of political dissent."
STEPHANOPOULOS: And on Russia, we saw the president's comments today. You heard Senator Klobuchar, another one of your Republican colleagues, Marco Rubio, has weighed in this morning on Twitter.
He said, "When has a Democratic political activist been poisoned by the GOP or vice versa?
We are not the same as Putin."
That was signed "M.R." Marco Rubio.
Your response to the president?
SASSE: You know, I'll be honest, I don't know what the president is trying to do with statements like he allegedly has on O'Reilly, on the Super Bowl tonight. So I've only seen little clips of it. There may be a broader context.
But let's be clear.
Has the U.S. ever made any mistakes?
Is the U.S. at all like Putin's regime?
Not at all.
Truth affirms freedom of speech. Putin is no friend of reli -- freedom of speech.
Putin is an enemy of freedom of religion. The U.S. celebrates freedom of religion.
Putin is an enemy of the free press. The U.S. celebrates free press.
Putin is an enemy of political dissent. The U.S. celebrates political dissent and the right for people to argue free from violence about places or ideas that are in conflict.
There is no moral equivalency between the United States of America, the greatest freedom living nation in the history of the world and the murderous thugs that are in Putin's defense of his cronyism.
STEPHANOPOULOS: More broadly...
SASSE: There's no moral equivalency there.