Some Republican and Democratic lawmakers have rejected President Donald Trump's most recent notion that the United States government is morally equivalent to Vladimir Putin's Russia.
The most recent controversial claim took place during the president's interview with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, which aired Sunday before the Super Bowl. During the discussion, Trump defended his decision to criticize longtime allies instead of the Russian authoritarian regime.
"I say it's better to get along with Russia than not," Trump said.
O'Reilly pushed back. "He's a killer though. Putin's a killer," the host said, referring to Putin's critics who have been found dead and Russian military tactics in Syria and Ukraine.
"There are a lot of killers. We got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country's so innocent?" the president responded.
Trump's unexplained defense of Russia, which has he sustained since the campaign, continued to stump some lawmakers who appeared on network news shows Sunday.
More from NBC News
Trump, Challenged About Putin, Says 'Our Country's So Innocent?'
Mike Pence: Trump 'Has Every Right to Criticize' Other Branches of Government
Analysis: Why Voting Rights Advocates Are Worried About a Trump Voter Fraud Probe
"I'll be honest, I don't know what the president is trying to do with statements like these," Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) said on ABC's "This Week."
The Nebraska senator then described the rights provided by the First Amendment, making it clear that Putin and Russia's government do not provide those freedoms to its citizens.
"There is no moral equivalency between the United States of America — the greatest freedom loving nation in the history of the world — and the murderous thugs that are in Putin's defense of his cronyism," Sasse added.