Why Won’t Republicans Condemn Trump’s Praise for Putin?

As CPAC comes to a close today, we have just one question: Why did Republican leaders spend the last four days refusing to condemn Donald Trump’s shameless praise for Vladimir Putin? 

When asked about the defeated former president calling Putin “savvy” and “genius,” Republican leaders flat out refused to condemn Trump’s words and performed verbal gymnastics to avoid offering any form of criticism:

Ted Cruz

Josh Hawley

Rick Scott

CBS News’s Robert Costa: “Should Trump condemn the Russian invasion when he speaks at CPAC tonight? Even out of power, he remains a central figure in many GOP races nationwide.

@CBSNews⁩ asked Sen. Rick Scott, head of Sen Rs’ campaign arm. 

‘We all’ should. 


‘That’s a decision’ for him.

Kristi Noem

“Q: Do you endorse Trump’s comments on Putin?

NOEM: “I don’t think Putin is a dummy. He certainly is a man who has been strategically planning this for years, waiting for an opportunity. President Biden kicked the door open for him…”

Tom Cotton

NBC News’s Sahil Kapur: “Asked three times, Sen. Tom Cotton refuses to condemn Trump’s praise of Putin. ‘I don’t speak on behalf of other politicians.’”

HuffPost’s Igor Bobic: Cotton repeatedly declines to condemn Trump’s praise of Putin, saying he ‘doesn’t speak for other politicians’  Stephanopoulos notes that wouldn’t be an issue if Democratic president said same thing