Rep. Chris Collins said Monday he wasn't comfortable with President Donald Trump's "killers" comments concerning Russian President Vladimir Putin, at least as "where it went as reported by the press."
"I would have not used those words, as far as context," said the New York Republican, after CNN "New Day" co-host Alisyn Camerota reminded him that Trump's quote wasn't made up by the press, but was made on camera during an interview with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly.
During a pregame interview airing before the Super Bowl on Sunday, Trump asked O'Reilly if the United States is innocent, after the Fox News star called Putin a killer.
"There are a lot of killers. Lot of killers. You think our country's so innocent? You think our country is so innocent?" Trump said.
"Take a look at what we've done, too," he continued. "We've made a lot of mistakes. I've been against the war in Iraq since the beginning. A lot of people were killed. A lot of killers around, believe me."
Collins said Trump will work with any and all leaders to defeat ISIS, and the United States needs to realize that China and Russia are "civilized countries," but at the same time, he "would not have used the words he used in that context, but he's saying [Putin] will work with the U.S. to defeat ISIS."
Collins, though, said he can't speak for what was in the back of Trump's mind when he made the comments, but "it is true that our military does take out terrorists using drones and other means, but certainly not on U.S. soil, which is what certainly most people acknowledge."
Collins went on to blame the "aggressive press" for Trump's comparison, as it "tries to push President Trump into an area where he'll say something, and they jump on, but the context goes back to when the president said he'll work with world leaders to defeat ISIS."
Collins on Monday also denied Trump's order on travel from the Middle East is a religious ban against Muslims, but that it was "trying to keep America safe."
Trump attacked U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle for placing a temporary stay on his executive order, calling him a 'so-called judge' who could be blamed if there are attacks after his ruling, and Collins said he might not have gone to that point.
"But that doesn't mean that the judge didn't make a very poor ruling," said Collins. "He is certainly a confirmed legitimate judge but many of us disagree with that ruling."
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