President Donald Trump is spreading a "dangerous lie" by making comparisons of moral equivalence between the United States and Russia under President Vladimir Putin, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough wrote in a column for The Washington Post Wednesday.
"President Trump's recent claim that the United States is morally on par with Russia's corrupt dystopian regime was so historically ignorant that even Republicans felt compelled to speak out this week," the "Morning Joe" host wrote.
"Perhaps that is because remaining silent in the face of such a morally disorienting claim would make them look like fools."
In an interview with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly earlier this week, the president drew comparisons between the United States and Russia after O'Reilly called Putin a "killer."
"Donald Trump grew up like us in the Cold War," Scarborough said on his morning television program Wednesday. "The Soviet regime that Putin admires killed 60 million and some people, their own citizens, and this is what Putin wants his Russia to be?
"I just don't understand it for the life of me. This is one of the most vexing things of the vexing things that Donald Trump has said."
In his opinion piece, Scarborough pointed out that Putin is an autocrat who "kills journalists and political rivals" and who mourns the collapse of the Soviet Union.
"The evil empire Putin admires speaks volumes about the tyrant our new president defends," said Scarborough. "Burning with resentments carried over from a fallen empire, Comrade Putin dreams of rebuilding the U.S.S.R. one invasion at a time."
Trump needs to be reminded by someone in the West Wing about how conditions were in the former communist country when he defends Putin, Scarborough continued, as "most historians agree that the tyrants running the Soviet Union murdered up to 10 times as many of their own citizens as Hitler did during the Holocaust . . . Putin's idealized regime was the most murderous of the 20th century."
After the Allies in World War II won, the Soviet Union took control of 100 million people and forced resettlement behind the Iron Curtain, but America took part in "superhuman relief work" under President Harry Truman and former President Herbert Hoover. The United States also saved Western Europe through the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe.
Scarborough in his piece also drew comparisons between the United States and Russia in Afghanistan, noting that an estimated 1 million people died after the Soviet invasion in 1979, and in 1980 the Soviets began a "campaign of terror," including the use of chemical weapons.
Putin has carried forward the Soviet legacy, with political opponents being killed by poison, investigative reporters murdered and with the invasions of surrounding countries, Scarborough wrote.
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