GOP Nominee Claims Trump Is Standing Up to Russia, Audience Responds by Howling With Laughter

Republican Senate nominee Corey Stewart had an awkward moment this weekend when he attempted to tell a debate audience that President Donald Trump was "standing up" to Russia.

Speaking at a Senate debate in Virginia, Stewart told incumbent Tim Kaine, who was Hillary Clinton's vice-presidential pick during the 2016 election, that the president had shown strength to Russia, The Guardian reported.

But his comment clearly didn't go down as he intended it to—prompting laugher from Senator Kaine and members of the audience.

"Senator Kaine seems to be surprised that Russians are behaving, well, like Russians. They've been spying for years, and in fact he was noticeably silent when they shot down a Malaysian airliner when President Obama was in office,' Stewart said.

'We have a president who is standing up to the Russians,' he added, immediately causing Kaine and the audience to burst out laughing.

Stewart's comments come following a backlash against President Trump's performance with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the pair's meeting in Helsinki last week.

Trump faced criticism after appearing to suggest he had taken Putin's denial over alleged Russian election meddling over the views of his own intelligence community.

"They say it's Russia. I have President Putin. He just said it's not Russia," Trump told reporters last Monday, prompting a backlash from both Democrats and some Republicans over what was seen as a snub to U.S. intelligence agencies and an indicator of Trump's trust in Putin.

"I will say this: I don't see any reason why it would be…. I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today," he added.

However, Trump later walked back his comments, insisting that he did have faith in U.S. intelligence agencies and suggesting he had misspoken.

"I said the word 'would' instead of 'wouldn't' and the sentence should have been: 'I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russia.' Sort of a double-negative," The Hill reported Trump saying, although the president later tweeted out a series of messages suggesting he felt the press conference had gone well and that negative reports were simply "fake news."

However, if the reaction of the debate audience in Virginia is anything to go by, Trump's flip-flopping on his Russia comments has left a lot of people unconvinced.

GOP Nominee Claims Trump Is Standing Up to Russia, Audience Responds by Howling With Laughter | U.S.