Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be invited to address the U.S. Congress if he accepts President Donald Trump's invitation to visit Washington, a senior Republican lawmaker said on Tuesday, calling that a privilege reserved for allies.
The comments by House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan reflect the continuing unease among U.S. lawmakers even within Trump's own party about the president's outreach to Putin in the wake of the July 16 summit between the two leaders in Helsinki, Reuters said.
Ryan told a briefing he did not have a problem with Trump sitting down with foreign leaders like Putin, but said the message being conveyed during such talks is what is important.
"If the message is, 'Stop meddling in our country, stop violating our sovereignty,' then I support that. But it's the message that counts," Ryan told reporters, adding "we can always be firmer on that."
Asked about Trump's invitation to Putin, Ryan told reporters the Russian leader will not be given the chance that some visiting foreign leaders get to address a joint session of the U.S. House and Senate.
"We would certainly not be giving him an invitation to do a joint session," Ryan added. "That's something we reserve for allies."