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Chuck Schumer: Putin is a ‘schoolyard bully’

Updated

Russian president Vladimir Putin is a “schoolyard bully” who resents that Russia is no longer the major power it once was considered, Sen. Chuck Schumer said Monday on Morning Joe.

“I’ve called Putin not someone who sits in the back of the classroom. He’s a schoolyard bully, and the only way you deal with bullies is stand up to them,” Schumer said.

“He resents that Russia is no longer the major power in the world that it used to be,” Schumer added. “They’re no longer a big power, and he’s trying to build it back.”

Putin in June signed into law a measure that effectively makes homosexuality illegal in Russia. Since then, there have been calls for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Games, to be held in Sochi, Russia, and reports have emerged of escalating brutality against the country’s LGBT community.

Schumer, a New York Democrat, said he thinks the United States should avoid pulling out of the Olympics because the world should honor the athletes who have qualified and trained. Instead, he said, countries should support gay athletes by holding multicolored flags during the opening ceremony of the Games.

President Obama, the first world leader to criticize Russia publicly for its treatment of gays and lesbians, last week canceled a September meeting with Putin after Russia granted temporary asylum to Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked to the press details of several top-secret mass surveillance programs.

“The president is doing his job by trying to keep the person-to-person relationship OK,” Schumer said. “But I think if you talk to people within our State Department, within others, there’s just complete exasperation.”

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Chuck Schumer: Putin is a 'schoolyard bully'

Updated