Democrats and Republicans in the US Congress didn’t hold back in their condemnation of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s op-ed for The New York Times, with one lawmaker describing the piece as “insulting,” while another said it made him want to “vomit.”
In the 1,068-word piece explaining Russia’s opposition to the use of force in Syria, Putin said a military strike could “increase violence” in the region, “unleash a new wave of terrorism” and cost the lives of more “innocent victims.”
More from GlobalPost: Putin op-ed: Russia's case against striking Syria
But US lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle weren't buying it and they denounced the Russian leader’s words as offensive and disingenuous.
“I almost wanted to vomit,” Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told CNN on Wednesday.
“I worry when someone who came up through the KGB tells us what is in our national interests, and what is not. It really raises the question of how serious the Russian proposal is.”
Republican Sen. John McCain tweeted the following:
Putin's NYT op-ed is an insult to the intelligence of every American
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) September 12, 2013
McCain, during conversations with journalists, then agreed to pen an op-ed for the Russian Pravda. Foreign Policy reporters approached Pravda editors, who agreed to publish a McCain submission.
Pravda is a pro-Kremlin tabloid that leans toward the sensationalist. Some of its popular stories on Friday, when McCain agreed to write his column, included: "Syrian special forces ready to attack USA," and "An expose of the Boston Marathon bombings hoax."
House Speaker John Boehner, also a Republican, told reporters Thursday that he was “insulted” by the op-ed piece, while Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, said Putin was “looking for an excuse to show off his Super Bowl ring.”
Republican Sen. James M. Inhofe said former President Ronald Reagan would be “turning over in his grave” at the piece.
Former US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also weighed in.
"I think it's pretty clear that the whole purpose of that was to try to weaken our resolve," Panetta told NBC.
"He was trying to, in his own way, weaken the United States and the effort to negotiate these issues."
So far, President Barack Obama has not responded to Putin’s op-ed, but his chief spokesman, Jay Carney, had this to say to White House reporters on Thursday: "What I found interesting was the closing — when he says when we pray to God he judges us all — I don't know exactly what his words are but he says 'we are all God's children.' I think that's great. I hope it applies to gays and lesbians in Russia as well."
Carney was referring to Russia's controversial anti-gay law that imposes fines for distributing "propaganda" about homosexuality to minors.
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) September 12, 2013
One of the few people to publicly praise Putin's op-ed in The Times was former Nixon and Reagan White House adviser and conservative political commentator Pat Buchanan, who told Fox News "it was an outstanding piece."
"Vladimir Putin made a better case against US strikes in Syria than the president of the United States did last night,” Buchanan said.