Paul Ryan Criticizes Vladimir Putin Amid Trump’s Praise for Russian Leader
Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of violating the sovereignty of Russia’s neighbors Thursday — a marked departure from Donald Trump’s praise of the Russian leader.
“Vladimir Putin is an aggressor that does not share our interests. Vladimir Putin is violating the sovereignty of neighboring countries,” Ryan said to reporters Thursday.
The Wisconsin Republican — who reluctantly announced his support for Trump, but denounced many of his comments and policies — also blamed Putin for the series of cyber attacks against political party organizations and state election boards.
“That is not acting in our interests and that is an adversarial stance,” he said.
Speaking at an NBC News presidential forum Wednesday night, Trump, who has praised Putin’s leadership throughout his campaign, suggested Putin has been a better leader than President Obama.
“[Putin] has very strong control over a country,” Trump said. “Now, it’s a very different system, and I don’t happen to like the system, but certainly in that system, he’s been a leader. Far more than our president has been a leader.”
Ryan declined to comment on Trump’s presidential campaign.
“I’m not going to sit up here and do the tit-for-tat on what Donald had said last or the night before and Hillary versus Donald,” he said. “I’m not going to be the electioneer pundit commenting on all these little things.”
Earlier in the day, in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, Ryan said Trump’s campaign has become “much more disciplined” after pollster Kellyanne Conway was hired as campaign manager.
He also criticized Hillary Clinton for responding to concerns about her handling of classified information on her private email server with “misdirection.”
“I don’t know how you get around this,” Ryan said of Clinton’s actions.
The House also passed a symbolic resolution Thursday afternoon supporting the sovereignty of Georgia, the small European nation Russia invaded in 2008, in a 410-6 vote.
The resolution also calls on Russia to “refrain from acts and policies that undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity” of Georgia.
The vote was scheduled by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office, and not Ryan’s.
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