Mitt Romney: Putin is a 'small, evil, feral-eyed man who is trying to shape the world in the image where once again Russia would be an empire'
- Utah Sen. Mitt Romney said Russian President Putin is a "small, evil, feral-eyed man."
- Romney said that Russia was "circling the drain" due to a declining population.
Sen. Mitt Romney on Sunday said Russian President Vladimir Putin was "a small, evil, feral-eyed man who is trying to shape the world in the image where once again Russia would be an empire" amid Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Romney, a Republican from Utah, made the comments during an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union" on Saturday after moderator Dana Bash asked about Romney's 2012 comments warning that Russia was a "geopolitical foe."
"China's the greatest threat to us long term, economically, militarily," Romney said on Sunday."And Russia, in a lot of respects, is circling the drain, given their shrinking population, their weak economy. John McCain used to joke that Russia is a gas station parading as a nation."
Romney said it concerned him that several US presidents — Bush, Obama, and Trump — had attempted to repair US relations with Russia and saw a "responsible person" in the Russian president.
"John McCain was right," Romney said. "He said he looked into Vladimir Putin's eyes and saw the KGB. And that's what we're seeing, a small, evil, feral-eyed man who is trying to shape the world in the image where once again Russia would be an empire."
Romney said "that's not going to happen."
—The Recount (@therecount) February 27, 2022
Romney's comments recalled remarks made by the late Arizona Sen. John McCain, a Republican, who in 2007 during his campaign for president said he saw "three letters: a K, a G, and a B" in Putin, referring to the former Soviet Union's security and intelligence agency.
He continued: "And the people of the world see him and see Russia for what it is. And they're saying, no, we will fight for freedom. And what we're seeing is inspiring. It is powerful. And it will help change the world in a positive way."
Putin on Sunday ordered Russia's nuclear deterrent forces to be on alert, blaming the move on sanctions and statements from member nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and from western nations.
"Dear colleagues, as you see, Western countries are not only taking hostile actions toward our country in the economic sphere—I am talking about the illegitimate sanctions everybody knows about," Putin said to his top advisors.
"But more importantly, senior officials of leading NATO countries make aggressive statements against our country. That is why I order the Minister of Defense and the Chief of the General Staff to put the deterrent forces of the Russian army in a special regime of duty," he added.
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