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    HomePoliticsCheney warns of Republican Party ‘Putin-wing’ after Navalny death

    Cheney warns of Republican Party ‘Putin-wing’ after Navalny death

    CNN

    Former US Rep. Liz Cheney is pictured on CNN’s “State of the Union” during an interview on February 18.



    CNN
     — 

    GOP former Rep. Liz Cheney on Sunday warned of a Republican Party “Putin-wing” after former President Donald Trump responded to the death of outspoken Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny without actually mentioning him or Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    “We have to take seriously the extent to which you’ve now got a Putin-wing of the Republican Party. I believe the issue this election cycle is making sure that the Putin-wing of the Republican Party does not take over the West Wing of the White House,” Cheney told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”

    President Joe Biden and Trump struck dramatically different tones in their respective responses to the death of the jailed Russian opposition figure.

    Biden, in his comments at the White House following the announcement of Navalny’s death, forcefully pinned the blame on “Putin and his thugs.”

    “Make no mistake: Putin is responsible for Navalny’s death. Putin is responsible. What has happened to Navalny is yet more proof of Putin’s brutality. Nobody should be fooled,” Biden said.

    Trump, meanwhile, said nothing directly about Navalny in a post that his campaign said was his official response to the opposition leader’s death – instead posting more than 20 times about a variety of topics including his criminal cases and his political opponents.

    “When you think about Donald Trump, for example, pledging retribution, what Vladimir Putin did to Navalny is what retribution looks like in a country where a leader is not subject to the rule of law,” Cheney said Sunday.

    The former president earlier this month also said he would encourage Russia to do “whatever the hell they want” to any NATO member country that doesn’t meet spending guidelines and would not offer such a country US protection – a stance that NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said “undermines all of our security, including that of the US, and puts American and European soldiers at increased risk.”

    “He’s basically made clear that under a Trump administration, the United States is unlikely to keep its NATO commitments,” Cheney said. She called Trump’s comments “dangerous” and said they show “a complete lack of understanding of America’s role in the world.”

    In a separate interview on “State of the Union” Sunday, GOP Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, who endorsed Trump after dropping out of the presidential primary race, maintained the world would be safer with Trump as president as he looked to cast Biden as weak on the international stage.

    “When you ask the question about keeping Putin in check, you look at the actions and the administration of Donald Trump, and you come to one clear conclusion that without question, Ukraine was safer, the world was safer, and America was certainly safer,” Scott added.

    As for his own reaction to Navalny’s death, Scott called Putin a “murderous dictator” who “always looks for ways to take out the competition and send a clear message just a few days or a few weeks before the Russian election.”

    Cheney on Sunday also said she has not made a decision on whether she will make a third-party run for president, but maintained she would do “whatever is necessary to defeat Donald Trump.”

    CNN’s Kit Maher and Avery Lotz contributed to this report.

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