Morning Joe slams GOP's Russia love: 'Are you a RINO if you don't have shirtless pictures of Putin?'
'Morning Joe' reacts to GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher's defense of Russian President Vladimir Putin (Screen cap).

Donald Trump's takeover of the Republican Party has produced a side effect that even the crew at Morning Joe finds disturbing: More Republicans are willing to come to the defense of Russian President Vladimir Putin.


Citing both President-elect Trump's refusal to acknowledge Russia's role in hacking the Democratic National Committee and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher's stunning defense of Putin this week, co-host Joe Scarborough said he was stunned at how quickly it's become acceptable to be an apologist for Russia in the Republican Party.

"I don't understand, he was always a conservative's conservative," Scarborough said of Rohrabacher, who has been mentioned as a potential Trump administration secretary of state, and who mocked the idea that Russia engaged in human rights abuses during an interview on Wednesday. "Are you a RINO if you don't have pictures of Putin on the wall shirtless, and go up and pray to him every night?"

Earlier in the segment, Scarborough ran down Putin's litany of crimes to show that he's not someone any supposed conservative should support.

"Putin's a guy that assassinates journalists," said Scarborough. "He's the guy that shoots down -- in front of the Kremlin! -- political opponents. He's the guy that locks political opponents into jail for years."

Check out the whole clip below.