While some Republican senators are cheering President Barack Obama’s sanctions in response to alleged Russian cyber-hacking, President-elect Donald Trump’s incoming press secretary is not in agreement.
Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” Sean Spicer asked guest host Jonathan Karl “is that response in proportion to the actions taken.”
“I think one of the questions that we have is why the magnitude of this?” Spicer said. “I mean you look at 35 people being expelled, two sites being closed down, the question is, is that response in proportion to the actions taken? Maybe it was; maybe it wasn’t but you have to think about that.”
Obama last week announced economic sanctions and in addition to expelling 35 Russian diplomats from the U.S. That decision was questioned by Trump, and Russian President Vladimir Putin refused to retaliate.
Spicer said Putin’s hesitation to reciprocate demonstrates Trump’s effectiveness on the world stage.
Spicer compared Obama’s reaction to Russia last week with his response to China in 2015 when that country “took over a million records, sensitive data… and a White House statement wasn’t even issued.” He wondered if Obama’s sanctions, in the twilight of his presidency, didn’t amount to “political retribution and not a diplomatic reaction.”
Suggesting Obama “failed” at establishing “a relationship with Russia,” Spicer said, “This president [Trump] is going to have a relationship with Russia and understand that it’s in America’s interest to have a relationship with Russia when they don’t pose a threat to our national economic interests.”
The incoming press secretary said Trump “should sit down with the heads of the intelligence community” and appraise whether Obama’s response was appropriate or not.
Spicer said it’s time to start evaluating other factors that influenced the presidential election.
“Why are we not talking about the other influences on the election? Why are we not talking about Hillary Clinton getting debate questions ahead of time? That’s a pretty valid attempt to influence an election. What did Hillary Clinton do to influence the election? Is she being punished in any way?” he asked.
But Spicer also said it was time to move beyond the election and examine Trump’s “wins both abroad and here at home.”
“These jobs were coming from abroad to America. And instead of trying to mock him or undermine him, it’s time that people started giving him credit for actually getting things done,” Spicer said.
Follow David on Twitter