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GOP Rep. Scott Perry: ‘Can’t Get Into’ Trump’s Mind on Russia

Freedom Caucus member: ‘As long as we’re doing things that are in America’s interests, I can stomach it’

Republican Rep. Scott Perry said he “applauded" President Donald Trump for appearing with totalitarian leaders of Russia and North Korea, “as long as it gets us where we need to go.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Republican Rep. Scott Perry said he “applauded" President Donald Trump for appearing with totalitarian leaders of Russia and North Korea, “as long as it gets us where we need to go.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Rep. Scott Perry said he “can’t get into” President Donald Trump’s thinking when it comes to his unwillingness to admit Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

Speaking in a telephone town hall with constituents in Pennsylvania, Perry said he would have difficulty appearing with Russian President Vladimir Putin as Trump did during their news conference in Helsinki last week, PennLive reported.

“I would have a hard time standing right beside someone who murders someone, whether that’s Vladimir Putin or Kim Jung Un or these other totalitarian thugs. I applaud the president for doing that, as long as it gets us where we need to go,” he said.

But Perry, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said he still did not like the approach.

“As long as we’re doing things that are in America’s interests, I can stomach it,” he said. “I don’t love it, but I accept it … If you’re like me, it makes you feel uncomfortable.”

At the news conference last week, Trump appeared to side with Putin in his denial about interference instead of the intelligence community.

When asked about his criticism of the intelligence community, Perry said the President was “tormented by people who somehow want him to agree with the implication that he didn’t win the election fair and square.”

Perry said admitting Russia meddled undermines the legitimacy of Trump’s victory.

“Russia has been tampering forever. This is what Russia does. They are opposed the U.S. and always sought to destabilize us. This is nothing new,” he said.

Perry also criticized Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum against Canada, Mexico and the European Union.

“The tariffs are hurting consumers. I understand the president is trying to get things back in line, I just think there is a better methodology,” he said.

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