SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Donald Trump, Jr. visited two Georgia cities Monday to campaign for former U.S. Senator David Perdue. Perdue is trying to oust Gov. Brian Kemp in the Republican primary.

At the same time, a small group of Georgia veterans called out Perdue for his continued loyalty to former President Donald Trump after Trump seemed to praise Russian President Vladimir Putin in a radio program about two weeks ago.

Speaking on the invasion of Ukraine on the Clay Travis and Buck Sexton program, Trump remarked on Putin’s assertions that two areas in Ukraine needed to become independent.

“So Putin is now saying it’s independent, a large section of Ukraine,” said Trump on the program. “I said how smart is that, he’s going go in and be a peacekeeper and I said this is genius think of it, here’s a guy who’s very savvy.”

Service members including Chuck Enderlin, who served as a Marine for 20 years was appalled at the former president’s remarks.

“The fawning praise for Putin, hailing a dictator as smart, savvy and a genius is made worse by David Perdue’s shameless embrace of Trump’s comments,” said Enderlin.

Jonathan Penson, a retired captain in the Georgia National Guard also spoke out.

“These comments are reprehensible and do not reflect America’s values as a nation and yet David Perdue has stayed completely silent,” said Penson. “He’s kept his mouth shut while shut while continuing to run political ads featuring Trump and playing up his support for the former president.”

There is at least one political advertisement circulating that shows the former president denouncing Kemp and endorsing Perdue to be the next Republican governor.

Toyia Tucker, who served in the Air Force for 12 years is currently a city council member in Columbus. She joined in the criticism that Perdue should denounce the remarks from the former president.

Donald Trump’s approval of Putin is un-American,” she said. “Authoritarian leaders who attack democracy cannot be tolerated and we’ve heard nothing from either David Perdue or Brian Kemp. And here today, Donald Trump, Jr. is back in Georgia campaigning for Perdue.”

All three veterans are democrats, but said that political party should not have anything to do with concerns about the former president’s remarks.

“And to make it clear that flattering a brutal dictator has no place in our politics,” said Enderlin.

“People need to stand up and support the Ukrainians and not with anyone supporting the opposition, period,” said Penson.

WSAV put the issue to Perdue’s campaign and received the following statement from a spokesperson.

“This is another false narrative pushed by the liberal media. David Perdue has been clear that Putin is a murderous thug who has been enabled by Biden’s weakness,” the spokesperson said. “Georgians know that Donald Trump was tougher on Putin than Biden will ever be.”

While the main criticism from the democratic veterans was leveled at Perdue, they also said Kemp should condemn the former president’s remarks instead of “still trying to cozy up to Trump.”

We reached out to Kemp’s campaign but did not hear back at the time this story was posted.