Putin is not a great guy. But this isn’t about him or Russia. It’s about Trump winning the election. That’s why Obama is upset. That’s why he’s trying to flex his muscles now. Do you agree with Ryan or do you think the GOP is turning its back on Trump?
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., thinks the Obama administration was justified in retaliating Thursday against Russia with sanctions for interfering with U.S. institutions. But he said it should’ve been done long ago.
Far from a full-throated endorsement of Obama’s actions, Ryan’s statement condemned the commander in chief for eight years of what he considers “ineffective foreign policy” that left the United States more vulnerable than it was when he took office in 2009. Nevertheless, Ryan agreed that Russia is a threat to global security.
“Russia does not share America’s interests. In fact, it has consistently sought to undermine them, sowing dangerous instability around the world,” Ryan said shortly after the White House announced the punishments. “While today’s action by the administration is overdue, it is an appropriate way to end eight years of failed policy with Russia. And it serves as a prime example of this administration’s ineffective foreign policy that has left America weaker in the eyes of the world.”
Ryan’s evenhanded statement is notable because President-elect Donald Trump, with whom he has had a rocky relationship, has repeatedly dismissed the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that the Kremlin interfered in the November election. The U.S. says Russian hackers were behind the cyberattacks that led to massive email leaks from the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman.
“I think we ought to get on with our lives. I think that computers have complicated lives very greatly. The whole, you know, age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what’s going on,” Trump said Wednesday of the U.S. allegations against Russia.
Sen. John McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham, both prominent Republicans, released a joint statement on Obama’s announcement that echoed Ryan’s language, but they did not use the moment as an opportunity to attack the administration as harshly as Ryan had.