Sen. Mitt Romney on Sunday said "Russia acted with impunity" in launching a cyberattack on the United States and that President Donald Trump continues to have "a blind spot" toward Russia.
"What this invasion underscores is that Russia acted with impunity," the Utah Republican said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "They didn't fear what we would be able to do from a cyber capacity. They didn't think that our defense systems were particularly adequate. And they apparently didn't think that we would respond in a very aggressive way."
Romney said Russia's sweeping cyberattack, which hit agencies across the U.S. government and elements of the nation's infrastructure, demonstrated that Vladimir Putin's government wouldn't need to launch missiles to disrupt America's most crucial systems, such as supply chains and public utilities. The attack has been called the most severe of its kind ever.
"They don't need rockets to take those things out," Romney said. "They potentially have the capability to take out all of those things and doing it remotely at very small cost."
While Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and intelligence experts have blamed the attack on Russia, Trump on Saturday offered his own theory - that it could have been China. "Russia, Russia, Russia is the priority chant when anything happens because Lamestream is, for mostly financial reasons, petrified of discussing the possibility that it may be China (it may!)," he tweeted.
Romney said Trump's statement reflected his inclination to downplay criticism of Putin's Russia. "I think we've come to recognize that the president has a blind spot when it comes to Russia," he told host Chuck Todd.
"I think he feels that anything that suggests that Russia is being malevolent or not treating him with the respect he deserves, why, he obviously backs away from that," Romney added. "He doesn't want to recognize Russia as the problem they are and the extraordinarily bad actor they are on the world stage. Because it reflects poorly on him, at least perhaps in his own mind. And the reality is, Russia really is a geopolitical adversary. They go against us on every front. They have now invaded our cyberspace again."