McConnell likens Russia to old Soviet Union

08/14/2018 04:09 PM

FORT KNOX- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell isn’t buying the new “friendly” relationship with Russia.

While touting President Trump signing the National Defense Authorization Act at Fort Knox, McConnell says he doesn’t see a difference in the new Russia and the old Soviet Union.

“The new Russia looks a lot like the old Soviet Union, only it has less territory, “ he told reporters. “I don’t think there is any question, Putin has said in the past he thought the dismantling of the Soviet Union was a geopolitical disaster for them. So this is a man who yearns for empire again and he has demonstrated that.”

McConnell went on to condemn Russia for interfering in American, and other countries elections. “Russia is not our friend” McConnell said—something he has said in the past.

This is a stark difference in opinion with Kentucky’s other Senator, Rand Paul. On Twitter Tuesday, Paul tweeted “Russia doesn’t need to be considered our friend. But we have overlapping issues.”

Paul traveled to Moscow last week meeting with Russian lawmakers, representatives for Russian President Vladimir Putin and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev. Sen. Paul says his trip was to foster a relationship with country to keep peace.

McConnell didn’t stop at just the Russians. He also expressed apprehension with the Chinese-American relationship, citing concerns over trade and military policies, putting him at odds with another prominent Kentucky politician, Gov. Matt Bevin, R-Kentucky. Bevin invited the Chinese ambassador to Kentucky in hopes of developing an economic relationship.

While speaking at Fort Knox Tuesday, McConnell stressed the complexity of the relationship between China and the United States.

“We really don’t want to be adversaries, but we don’t have a perfect relationship either. We have significant trade differences,” McConnell said. “The Chinese have become more aggressive on the military side, which has been unusual for them in the past.”

Watch the press conference:

Michon Lindstrom

Michon is a producer for Pure Politics. Michon comes to Kentucky from Springfield, Illinois where she served as the statehouse reporter for the NBC affiliate. During her time in the Land of Lincoln she covered the state’s two year budget impasse and the largest school funding overall in Illinois history. Pure Politics airs weeknights at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Michon on Twitter at @MichonLindstrom or reach her by email at


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