'Why can't you condemn it?' ABC host nails Tom Cotton after he scurries away from Trump's Putin praise
ABC/screen grab

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) on Sunday refused to condemn former President Donald Trump's praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine.

Trump, who has called Putin a "genius" for invading Ukraine, declined to speak out against the Russian dictator during a recent interview on Fox News.

On Sunday, ABC host George Stephanopoulos asked Cotton if he disagreed with the former president.

"Are you prepared to condemn that kind of rhetoric from the leader of your party?" the host wondered.

"George, you've heard what I have to say about Vladimir Putin, that he is a ruthless dictator who has launched a naked unprovoked war of aggression," Cotton opined. "Thankfully, the Ukrainian army has anti-tank missiles that President Obama would not supply, that we did supply last time Republicans were in charge in Washington."

"Why can't you condemn Donald Trump for those comments?" Stephanopoulos pressed.

"If you want to know what Donald Trump thinks about Vladimir Putin or any other topic, I would encourage you to invite him on your show," Cotton replied. "I don't speak on behalf of other politicians. They can speak for themselves."

"You are a senior member of the Republican Party," the ABC host noted. "Donald Trump is the leader of the Republican Party. He said last night, again, suggested that he would be running for president. When Fox News asked if he had a message for Vladimir Putin, he said he has no message. Why can't you condemn that? I feel quite confident that if Barack Obama or Joe Biden said something like that, you'd be first in line to criticize them."

"Again, George, if you want to talk to the former president about his views or his message, you can have him on your show," Cotton deflected. "My message to Vladimir Putin is quite clear. He needs to leave Ukraine unless he wants to face moms and teenagers with Molotov cocktails and grandmothers and grandfathers with AK-47s for years to come."

Watch the video below from ABC.