Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (left) and House Speaker Paul Ryan have said that they will not extend an invitation to Russian President Vladimir Putin to speak to Congress if he visits Washington, D.C., in the fall. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) separately told reporters on Tuesday that when Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Washington, D.C., at the invitation of President Donald Trump, he will not be invited to visit the Capitol or to address a joint meeting of Congress.
When is Putin coming to D.C.?
On July 19, after the Trump met with Putin in Helsinki, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted that Trump had asked national security adviser John Bolton to invite Putin to Washington, D.C., in the fall, and that "those discussions are already underway."
In Helsinki, @POTUS agreed to ongoing working level dialogue between the two security council staffs. President Trump asked @Ambjohnbolton to invite President Putin to Washington in the fall and those discussions are already underway.
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) July 19, 2018
What did McConnell and Ryan say?
On Tuesday, Ryan told reporters, “Well, we will certainly not be giving him an invitation to do a joint session. That is something we reserve for allies.”
I’m comfortable having presidents sit down and have one-on-ones with foreign leaders, but what I think matters is the message. And if the message is, ‘Stop meddling in our country. Stop violating our sovereignty,’ then I support that.
Later, a reporter asked McConnell, "What's your view on the merits of the White House to President Vladimir Putin to come to the United States in the fall for a visit?"
"Well, I can only speak for the Congress," McConnell responded. "The Speaker and I have made it clear that Putin will not be welcome up here at the Capitol."
Senate Majority Leader McConnell:
"The Speaker and I have made it clear that Putin will not be welcome up here at the Capitol." pic.twitter.com/xsN8VtyO6t
— NBC News (@NBCNews) July 24, 2018
Visiting foreign leaders have periodically been invited to address joint meetings of Congress since 1945.
So far, only one foreign leader has addressed a joint meeting of Congress since Trump took office: French President Emmanuel Macron on April 25. Macron himself was the first to address a joint meeting since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 8, 2016.
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