Rep. Geoff Diehl, the Republican candidate hoping to unseat U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), defended President Donald Trump’s White House invitation to Russian President Vladimir Putin, following a joint press conference featuring the two leaders.

“Look, Kim Jong Un was no saint either,” Diehl said in an interview with Boston Public Radio, referencing a recent meeting between Trump and the North Korean leader. “I think what you have to do is to try to get past these things, you have to have discussions, and to not allow foreign leaders to talk amongst each other doesn’t make sense to me.”

Trump faced criticism from both Democrats and Republicans after publicly siding with Putin as someone he trusted more than his own intelligence agencies, when asked about possible Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

“I have great confidence in my intelligence people,” Trump said during a joint news conference, following a one-on-one meeting with Putin, “but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”

Diehl described the meeting as “fine.”

“It wasn’t the finest moment overall in international relations, but generally speaking, what did we walk away from Russia with that was bad?” he said. “First of all, Baron got a soccer ball, great… but we didn’t commit to anything, and I think it’s been proven, as the president has said, he’s been one of the tougher presidents on Russia to begin with.”

According to Diehl, Trump was right to “question” U.S. intelligence agencies, as he believes the Obama Administration had a role in working to “undermine” the Trump presidency.

“They’re trying to say there were no rogue agents within our FBI to undermine his presidency, I think he has the right to question that,” Diehl said. “I think in some cases, Russia did meddle, but at the same time, I think he also was trying to question the agencies that are providing this information.”

Diehl won the party's endorsement at the Massachusetts Republican State Convention in the spring. Should Diehl win the Republican nomination in September, he will face off against U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat.

Diehl criticized Warren for her performance on veterans issues, crime in the local fishing industry, and addiction issues in Lawrence, Mass, three issues he says she has neglected.

“It’s a problem for Massachusetts, if she is re-elected it’s clear that she wants to spend the next two years running for the presidency,” Diehl said. “While she’s been in office, there’s been a real neglect for Massachusetts.”

Warren has repeatedly said she has no plan to run for president in 2020.

Diehl will appear with the two other candidates vying for the Republican nomination, John Kingston and Beth Lindstrom in a local Senate debate on Greater Boston on WGBH 2 on August 13.

To hear the full interview, click on the audio player above.