Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) discussed Monday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s possible involvement in the death of the 298 people aboard Malaysia Airlines flight 17, shot down by pro-Russian separatists last Thursday, and what the U.S. can do to incite a retirement that Toomey does not believe will come peacefully.
“When you are a thug, when you have the blood of your own people on your hands, when you have suppressed dissent and crushed democracy and robbed billions of dollars, a peaceful retirement is not necessarily a viable option,” he said. “And so he’s going to continue this sort of thing, unless and until we push back so hard that threatens his power more than continuing.”
Secretary of State John Kerry claimed several days after the tragedy, which occurred in Eastern Ukraine near the Russian border, that much evidence points to the involvement of the Russian government. Toomey, however, is not so much interested in immediate conclusive evidence that the government was involved, but seems instead to want to add this likely crime to a past long list of past wrongdoings by Putin.
“I think it’s time we be very, very clear about who Putin is here,” Toomey said. “This guy is clearly, he is a thug. He is an authoritarian dictator at this point, with a very, very aggressive and very dangerous foreign policy bent. We don’t frankly need to know exactly the precise role that Russia played in the downing of this jet. We need to find out eventually, but what we know now is that Putin deserves some blame for this.”
“I think the president should come out and make it clear that this man should be an international pariah,” he said.
He offered hard examples of what the U.S. could do in the pursuit of Putin’s demise. “One thing we can do is go after financial sanctions that hit Putin personally, hit the people who are close to him, his crony capitalist buddies who have collectively robbed the Russian people from so many billions of dollars,” he concluded. “We have the ability to do that and we should.”
The President last announced new sanctions against Russia just two days before the tragedy.