House Speaker Paul Ryan said Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be invited to speak before Congress should he visit Washington this fall, the Associated Press reports. “That is something we reserve for allies,” said Ryan.
Typically quiet when it comes to President Donald Trump’s controversial moves, Ryan has maintained a stable stance against Russia since last week’s meeting between Trump and Putin in Helsinki. While Trump has gone back and forth on whether he believes Russia meddled in the 2016 elections, Ryan clearly stated his stance at a press conference Tuesday.
“Let’s be very clear, just so everybody knows, Russia did meddle with our elections,” he said, according to CNN. “Not only did Russia meddle in our elections, they’re doing it around the world. … Russia is trying to undermine democracy itself.”
Ryan also said he’s “more than happy” to consider additional sanctions against Russia, but has declined to provide protections for the special counsel’s investigation or criticize other republicans who deny the goals of Russian meddling, CNN reports.
Trump invited Putin to the White House shortly after their meeting in Helsinki, surprising many upper intelligence officials.
According to the archives of the House of Representatives, the last time a Russian leader spoke before a joint session of Congress was in 1992, when Russian President Boris Yeltsin visited U.S. President George H. W. Bush. The only foreign leader to speak before Congress during Trump’s term has been French President Emmanuel Macron.