CHARLESTON, W.Va. — U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) says the United States and Russia need to communicate in order to repair its relationship that President Donald Trump said has reached “an all-time low.”
“Being repaired basically with communication, but let them know that, in strength, we’re not going to back off the values that we have,” Manchin told MetroNews while attending an event at the Charleston Civic Center Thursday.
President Trump said on Wednesday “we’re not getting along with Russia at all.” This came hours after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and other Russian leaders in Moscow.
It was the first face-to-face meeting between Russian leaders and Trump Administration officials.
Tillerson and Putin didn’t seem to agree on the facts of the deadly chemical attack in Syria. In retaliation, the U.S. fired missiles on a Syrian airbase last week, alleging Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical attack that left more than 80 people dead.
Manchin came out in support of the air strikes saying it was “justified.”
“The targeted strike was something that was a very strong message, very needed, but to go further we have to make sure we have a plan,” he said.
The damaged relationship doesn’t come after the 2016 U.S. presidential election or after the Syrian air strikes, but actually dates back to after the Cold War. Tillerson confirmed Wednesday that Russian hacking had been “fairly well-established” in the election.
Manchin said the meddling was uncalled for.
“They can’t be fooling around and jumping in our elections. They can’t be hacking into our political process,” he said. “We’re not going to stand for that.”
Ever since Manchin became a U.S. Senator in 2010, he said he always feared Russia would harm the U.S.
“When you have a country that has the missiles, the nuclear armament that they have that could do hard to our country, that was something always concerning to me,” he said.
“We want to work with them in the most diplomatic way,” he continued. “But we’ll be strong and we’ll use our military where we need to.”