Earlier today, President Obama hit Russia with a new round of sanctions in response to Russian hacking of the 2016 Elections. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who has a complicated relationship with Trump – with reality, really – managed in a statement today to support the sanctions without praising Obama.
In fact, he took a swipe at Obama’s legacy:
“Russia does not share America’s interests. In fact, it has consistently sought to undermine them, sowing dangerous instability around the world. 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.”
There will be some interesting times ahead for Paul Ryan, given Trump’s own desire to just forget the whole thing ever happened. Though Republicans control the executive and legislative branches of government, there is no clear path forward for those who distrust Trump and those who are willing to blindly follow to whatever end.
There are many Republicans who demand a thorough investigation of Russia’s hacking and who distrust the motives of Vladimir Putin. Ryan’s own support for Trump has always been muted by mutual distrust and competing egos.
If Ryan thinks President Obama’s response to Putin was weak, he will have a difficult time dealing with Trump’s open worship of the Russian leader. If Ryan wants America to stand up to Russia rather than dance to its tune, it will be up to Ryan and his fellow Republicans to put breaks on Trump’s fire sale of American interests overseas.