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Paul Ryan doesn’t share the same warm thoughts toward Russian President Vladimir Putin that Donald Trump expressed during NBC’s Commander-in-Chief Forum on Wednesday night.
Speaking Thursday at his first weekly press briefing since Congress returned for business this week, Ryan said he read a “little snippet” of what Trump said last night, adding that Putin is “acting like an adversary.”
“Let me say this about Vladimir Putin: Vladimir Putin is an aggressor that does not share our interests,” the House speaker said. “Vladimir Putin is violating the sovereignty of neighboring countries.”
“It certainly appears that he is conducting state-sponsored cyberattacks on our political system,” he continued, referencing recent hacks on the Democratic National Committee and other Democratic organizations in the US. “That is not acting in our interests. That is an adversarial stance, and he is acting like an adversary.”
The stance is a sharp turn from the one presented last night by Trump, who has been criticized for his prior comments expressing admiration for Putin.
“If he says great things about me, I’m going to say great things about him,” the Republican nominee said. “I’ve already said he is very much of a leader. The man has very strong control over his country.”
He said the Russian president is “really very much of a leader.”
“You can say, ‘Oh, isn’t that a terrible thing,’ I mean, the man has very strong control over his country,” the Manhattan billionaire said. “Now it’s a very different system, and I don’t happen to like the system, but certainly in that system he’s been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader.”
“We have a divided country,” Trump concluded.