McConnell: Putin will not be welcomed by Congress

July 26, 2018

Even as the White House continues to work on setting up another summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin—this one, tentatively scheduled for November—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said on July 24 that the Kremlin’s strongman will not be invited to the U.S. Capitol, The Hill reported.

McConnell, who has been reticent about addressing or reacting to President Donald Trump’s “kinship” with the Kremlin, told reporters this week, “I can only speak for the Congress. The speaker and I have made it clear that Putin will not be welcome up here, at the Capitol.”

McConnell’s comments come after his spokesperson said last week that there were no plans to invite Putin to the Capitol if he comes to D.C.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) said separately on July 24 that “we will certainly not be giving him an invitation to do a joint session.”

Congressional leadership has previously extended invitations to foreign leaders traveling to the Beltway to visit Capitol Hill. French President Emmanuel Macron, for example, delivered an address before Congress during his trip to the United States in April.

But the vocal opposition from GOP leadership to Putin visiting the Capitol marks another break between congressional Republicans and the White House when it comes to Russia.

Trump sparked widespread bipartisan backlash last week when he refused to condemn Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election during a press conference with Putin in Helsinki on July 16.

Americans don’t think President Trump has been tough enough on Russia, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll conducted after Trump’s summit in Helsinki. Nearly two-thirds said so, and it wasn’t just Democrats. Almost half of Republicans surveyed (47%) also said Trump hasn’t been tough enough on Russia, with just 20% saying he has taken about the right approach.

Research contact: @maristpoll

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