Utah US representative say Trump is tough on Russia, Putin
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart of Utah insists that President Donald Trump is standing up to Russian President Vladimir Putin behind the scenes.
Stewart added, however, that he is frustrated by Trump’s tweets and a fawning news conference last month with Putin in Finland that make it seem otherwise.
The Republican lawmaker stood up for Trump and his administration during a forum on national security on Thursday hosted by the Sutherland Institute at the Utah Army National Guard North Salt Lake Readiness Center.
Trump has received heavy criticism for his performance during the joint news conference with Putin last month. Trump was initially quoted saying that he sided more with Putin than the U.S. intelligence community on the Russian interference in U.S. elections.
“But putting aside what he said and how ineloquent he might have been, who is the president who went to NATO and said, ‘You have to increase your spending on defense,’ and the point of that, of course, is Russia,” said Stewart, who is a member of the House Intelligence Committee.
Trump is actually being tougher on Russia than former President Barack Obama, Stewart said.
Trump has increased U.S. military spending in part to counter Russian aggression, he said.
China is also a threat to the United States, and Stewart said he suspects the country may work with Russia to weaken the United States. Chinese President Xi Jinping is planning on making his country the single dominant power in the world by 2048, he said.
Stewart also expects Russia will attempt to interfere with U.S. elections again.
“Russia is going to continue to do this,” he said. “They have done it in Europe. They’ll do it in 2018 here. They’ll do it in 2020.”
Although firewalls around election systems have been improved, it’s harder to control efforts on social media, Stewart said.
Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com