Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said on Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin has driven relations between the two countries to a low not seen in many years.
"Russia remains an adversary to the United States. We have some overlapping interests. It would be better if our relationship was better," he told "Face the Nation" host John Dickerson on CBS. "But our relationship is not good right now because of Vladimir Putin," he added.
Cotton's assertion that it would be preferable to have a good relationship with Russia echoed numerous remarks President Trump made on the campaign trail in 2016.
Last week Trump signed a bill in which Congress levied tougher sanctions on Russia; the legislation also restricted the president's ability to ease sanctions already in place. The overwhelming votes by both chambers of Congress showed a veto-proof majority.
Even though the president signed the bill, he used his Twitter account to complain about it. "Our relationship with Russia is at an all-time & very dangerous low. You can thank Congress, the same people that can't even give us HCare!", he tweeted Thursday.
Last week, the White House forcefully claimed that ideas that the administration wasn't tough on Russia were wrong, saying that the media had created a false narrative about Trump's willingness to stand up to Russia.
"If you want to talk about somebody who's actually been tough on Russia, look at President Trump," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said. "He wants more fracking, more coal, more energy, a stronger military, a stronger defense. Those things aren't good for Russia."
"I think the distinctions are very clear," she said. "You guys want to create a narrative that just doesn't exist."
Trump and Putin met for the first time in early July, and according to press accounts, Putin denied that Russia had any involvement in meddling with the U.S. elections in 2016.