U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton on Monday issued a statement highly critical of Russia under President Vladimir Putin but not nearly as tough on U.S. President Donald Trump, who was widely criticized for supporting Putin after a joint summit in Finland.
Tipton, a Republican who represents the western two-thirds of Eagle County and most of Colorado Western Slope, issued the following statement late in the day on Monday:
“Vladimir Putin is not our friend, and there is ample evidence that Russia meddled in our elections. Russia has repeatedly violated international law, shown disregard for national sovereignty, engaged in human rights abuses, propped up state sponsors of terror, and fueled global instability,” said Tipton. “Russia’s attacks on our electoral system damage the very democratic principles upon which our country was built. I strongly urge President Trump and this Administration to hold Russia and Putin accountable. I will continue to support strong economic sanctions against Russia and measures to protect the integrity of our elections.”
Other lawmakers in the Republican Party and even Colorado’s congressional delegation were far tougher on Trump, including Republican Rep. Mike Coffman:
“Putin’s Russia isn’t our friend, won’t be an ally and most certainly won’t stop their rogue behavior against our country, our allies and our interests,” Coffman said in a Twitter statement. “President Trump should never take Putin’s word at face value and should give greater consideration to U.S. intelligence agencies over the Kremlin’s rhetoric. As a Marine Corps combat veteran and member of the House Armed Services Committee, I don’t take lightly my oath to defend our country against enemies foreign and domestic and neither should the president.”
Both Tipton and Coffman are viewed by analysts as potential Democratic flips as the party tries to regain control of the House of Representatives in November, although Coffman is in a much more diverse Front Range District with a higher percentage of Democratic voters.
Coffman’s Democratic challenger, Jason Crow, is also veteran. He had this to say on Twitter on Monday:
This community has provided clear warnings that Vladimir Putin is actively undermining our democracy. No matter what Mike Coffman says today, he simply hasn't served as a check on our President.
— Jason Crow (@JasonCrowCO6) July 16, 2018
State Sen. Kerry Donovan, a Democrat from Vail who’s running for re-election in November, had this to say on Twitter:
Russia is an adversary not an ally. The reason you believe American Intelligence Agencies is because they are American. Our president abandoned his country today and us. #copolitics
— Kerry Donovan (@KerryDonovanSD5) July 17, 2018