President Trump's latest defense of Putin draws strong local reaction

- Among those here in Houston protest marching on Super Bowl Sunday were many who fear and distrust President Donald Trump's friendliness with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin.

"I am not a radical. I'm a businessman and I am terribly concerned about our democracy and what Trump has done with the Russians, is very serious," said protester Mark Cayman.

Those concerns have grown even deeper after the Commander in Chief's controversial interview with Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, who called Putin a "killer".

"There are a lot of killers. You got a lot of killers. What, you think our country is so innocent?" responded the President.

Critics say President Trump's statement was both a defense of Putin's violent methods and a flawed suggestion that the United States is really no better.

Former State Department official Richard Sindelar teaches Foreign Policy at St. Thomas University and says President Trump's words hurt America's global standing.

"Putin is definitely a killer. We operate in a legitimate, moral environment. We have been known to kill people, but through a moral process and Putin does not and that is the difference," said Sindelar.

At The Russian General Store in Meyerland, some ex-patriots from the former Soviet Union believe better relations with Putin could actually pay dividends.

"Both America and Russia have a very vicious enemy in radical Islam. In order to win and its very important to everyone on this planet, to survive, we need to be united," said Bella Kristal, who immigrated to the U.S. 20 years ago from Ukraine.

Kristal says those here with ties to Russia and the nations it once ruled are split when it comes to backing the new president.

"Our generation who lived there, who lived in Soviet Union will support Trump. Younger generation, like my daughter's friends, their opinion is different," said Kristal.

The Russian government has demanded that O'Reilly apologize for calling Putin "a killer".

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