WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — President Trump says he respects Vladimir Putin, and when told the Russian leader is “a killer,” Trump said the United States has many of them.

“What do you think? Our country’s so innocent?” he told Fox’s Bill O’Reilly in a taped interview aired Sunday on the Super Bowl pregame show.

Trump has long expressed a wish for better ties with Moscow, has praised Putin and has signaled that U.S.-Russia relations could be in line for a makeover, even after U.S. intelligence agencies determined that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign to help Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton. Putin has called Trump a “very bright and talented man.”

During Putin’s years in power, a number of prominent Russian opposition figures and journalists have been killed.

In the interview, Trump says, “I do respect him,” then is asked why.

“I respect a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to get along with him. He’s a leader of his country. I say it’s better to get along with Russia than not. And if Russia helps us in the fight against ISIS, which is a major fight, and Islamic terrorism all over the world – that’s a good thing,” Trump said, using an acronym for the Islamic State. “Will I get along with him? I have no idea.”

O’Reilly then said about Putin: “But he’s a killer, though. Putin’s a killer.”

Trump responded: “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think? Our country’s so innocent?”

When O’Reilly says he doesn’t know any government leaders who are killers, Trump says “take a look at what we’ve done, too. We’ve made a lot of mistakes” and references the Iraq War.

The Kremlin had no immediate comment. Democrats and Republicans took issue with Trump’s comparison of Russia and the U.S.

“I really do resent that he would say something like that,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., on ABC’s “This Week.”

The Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, distanced himself from Trump.

“Putin’s a former KGB agent. He’s a thug. He was not elected in a way that most people would consider a credible election. The Russians annexed Crimea, invaded Ukraine and messed around in our elections. And no, I don’t think there’s any equivalency between the way the Russians conduct themselves and the way the United States does,” McConnell told CNN’s “State of the Union.”

On other issues, Trump said:

Plans to enact a replacement for the Affordable Care Act could slip into next year. “I would like to say by the end of the year, at least the rudiments, but we should have something within the year and the following year,” Trump said.

 Living in the White House is “a surreal experience in a certain way, but you have to get over it because there’s so much work to be done.”