White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday insisted that President Donald Trump had "always been tough on Russia" after the country was implicated in a Syrian gas attack on civilians.
At Monday's White House press briefing, CNN correspondent Jim Acosta noted that President Trump had for the first time called out Russian President Vladimir Putin over the weekend. And on Monday, Trump vowed that there would be a "price" to pay if Russia helped facilitate the attack.
"You've been saying this over the last couple of weeks, that nobody has been tougher on Russia and Vladimir Putin than the president," Acosta said. "Isn't there some hyperbole in that. Obviously, Ronald Reagan's 'tear down this wall'; John Kennedy put a blockade around Cuba; Carter boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow."
"There have been president of the course of the last several decades who have been tougher," Acosta continued. "Also given the fact that the president, up until just recently, wasn't really willing to criticize Putin by name. We all saw that over the weekend as a new development."
For her part, Sanders read off a list of actions which she suggested were proof that the president has taken drastic actions against Russia, including expelling operatives and closing consulates.
"You named off one or two things," Sanders told Acosta. "It is without dispute that this administration and this president have done a number of things to be tough on Russia."
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