Pelosi: ‘Thug’ Putin not welcome in Congress
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) is making it clear that even if Russian President Vladimir Putin pays a visit to Washington in the fall, he is not welcome in Congress.
“The notion that President Trump would invite a tyrant to Washington is beyond belief,” Pelosi said in a statement on Friday, referring to Putin as a “thug.”
“Putin’s ongoing attacks on our elections and on Western democracies and his illegal actions in Crimea and the rest of Ukraine deserve the fierce, unanimous condemnation of the international community, not a VIP ticket to our nation’s capital,” she continued.
“President Trump’s frightened fawning over Putin is an embarrassment, and a grave threat to our democracy. An invitation to address a Joint Meeting of Congress should be bipartisan and Speaker Ryan must immediately make clear that there is not – and never will be – an invitation for a thug like Putin to address the United States Congress.”
The first episode of the #TrumpPutin debacle was damaging enough. We don’t need a repeat performance – we need a president who will put America’s national security over the interests of Vladimir Putin. #ProtectOurDemocracy
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) July 20, 2018
GOP leaders have said that there is no invitation for Putin to address Congress should he accept President Trump’s offer to visit Washington in the fall.
“There is no invitation from Congress,” a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told The Hill this week.
“The only one talking about inviting Putin to address Congress is Nancy Pelosi,” a spokeswoman for Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told outlets on Friday.
Senate Republicans have sought to dissuade Trump from holding another summit with Putin after blowback to his meeting with the Russian leader in Helsinki this week.
The meeting sparked days of controversy after Trump appeared to side with Putin’s denial of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election over the assessment of his own intelligence chiefs, forcing the White House to go into damage control.
On Thursday, the White House said that Trump had directed his national security adviser John Bolton to extend an invitation for Putin to visit the White House in the fall. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday he is “hopeful” that such a meeting takes place.
“It is incredibly valuable to the people of the United States of America that President Trump and President Putin continue to engage in dialogue to resolve the difficult issues that our countries face between each other,” he said.
French President Emmanuel Macron delivered the most recent speech before a joint session of Congress in April while visiting Washington for a state visit.