Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence on Friday dismissed the charge that Russian leader Vladimir Putin manipulated Donald Trump by complimenting him.
Pence was responding to former CIA director Michael Morell, who said in a New York Times editorial that Trump's policy positions are aligned with Russian rather than American interests. Morell also said Putin recruited Trump as an "unwitting agent of the Russian Federation."
"Standing up to Russian aggression is going to be really different under a Trump-Pence administration," Pence said on NBC's "Today" show. "Whether it be Putin or whether it be literally the dissolving of the map in the wider Middle East... the truth of history that weakness arouses evil is on full display in this administration."
When asked about Trump's handling of criticism by the parents of a slain Muslim-American soldier, Pence said Trump "has a heart for our soldiers." He added that despite Trump's sliding poll numbers, veterans continue to appear at the candidate’s rallies.
"The only poll that really matters is on election day," Pence said.