Washington, Feb 15: President Donald Trump knows that it is in America's interest to have a "healthy relationship" with Russia and wants to get along with Moscow unlike the previous Obama administration which failed in such attempts, the White House has said.
"I think there's a difference between the President wanting to have an understanding of how a good relationship with Russia can help us defeat ISIS and terrorism throughout the world. The Obama administration tried to have a reset with Russia, they failed," White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Tuesday.
"They tried to tell Russia not to invade Crimea, they failed. This President understands that it's in America's national and economic interest to have a healthy relationship. If he has a great relationship with Putin and Russia, great. If he doesn't, then he'll continue on," Spicer said.
"But he's not gonna just assume that because it wasn't able to happen in the past - I think you've seen with Prime Minister Abe in particular and others. So many of these countries from around the globe are looking forward to resetting the relationships that this country has with them, that they feel as though they were abandoned over the last eight years and that they are excited about the prospect of a new US relationship under a Trump administration," he said.
Spicer strongly refuted the notion that Trump was soft on Russia, saying the President has made it very clear he expects the Russian government to de-escalate violence in the Ukraine and return Crimea. "At the same time, he fully expects to and wants to be able to get along with Russia, unlike previous administrations, so that we can solve many problems together facing the world such as the threat of ISIS and terrorism," he said.
Meanwhile, the opposition Democratic Party leaders hammered Trump for being allegedly soft on Russia. Senator Chris Murphy, Ranking Member of the US Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, which includes NATO and US-Russia policy, said that since election day, Russia has been on the march, testing the US over and over.
"So far, the reaction from the new administration has been inexplicable silence. But now, by deploying cruise missiles in violation of the INF Treaty, Russia is directly threatening the security of the United States and our allies in and around Europe," he said.
"This isn't a parlor game this is a real time threat to the security of the US and our allies. The president must make clear to our NATO allies that we remain firmly committed to their security. There is no room for equivocation here we need to send a clear signal this action is unacceptable," Murphy said.