Trump shouldn’t compare US to Russia when it comes to murder

Donald Trump is president in part because many Americans disliked his predecessor’s habit of refusing to recognize the exceptional nature of our government and the American people.

Too often, former President Barack Obama cited our nation’s challenges — and there are many — in equating us with other, much more deeply flawed countries.

In a weekend interview, Trump seemed to draw a similar conclusion. He was asked about his desire to improve relations with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Putin is “a killer,” the interviewer said.

Trump’s response: “What do you think? Our country’s so innocent?”

In many ways that matter, absolutely.

It is true U.S. history is far from unblemished. Slavery comes to mind.

And it is true U.S. leaders sometimes use brutal methods in combating our mortal enemies. Obama’s use of drones to assassinate Islamic terrorists, including some with U.S. citizenship, can be cited. It also is true that our government has been known to intimidate domestic opponents and the press.

But murder as a standard tool of domestic policy is unacceptable here. It is not in Russia and many other countries. Repression of the type Putin practices would not be tolerated here.

Ours is an exceptional nation in many ways. No one, least of all our president, should ever forget that.