Majority of Republicans Support Putin Coming to Washington

Majority of Republicans Support Putin Coming to Washington
And voters split on whether Trump believes Russia tried to influence the 2016 presidential election

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin speak to the media during a joint press conference after their summit on July 16 in Helsinki, Finland. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

BY ELI YOKLEY
July 25, 2018
73% of Republicans and a 43% plurality of all voters support Trump hosting Putin in Washington this fall.
A plurality of all voters say they believe Russia influenced the 2016 contest, while a larger share say Russia tried to influence the election.
Republican lawmakers have expressed misgivings about the idea of Russian President Vladimir Putin visiting Washington, D.C., but the bulk of Republican voters approve of it – putting the party’s officials at odds with the GOP base.

A new Morning Consult/Politico poll found 73 percent of Republicans support President Donald Trump hosting Putin in Washington in the fall – joining a 43 percent plurality of all voters in support of the meeting.

The survey of 1,996 registered voters was conducted July 19-23, after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced that National Security Advisor John Bolton was asked to invite Putin to Washington in the fall, following the two leaders’ Helsinki summit last week.

The prospect of another meeting – this time in Washington – has prompted some top Republicans to voice their reservations. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the party’s whip, said he’d prefer that Trump put another meeting on the “back burner for a while,” according to The Hill, and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) told Politico “I’m not sure that’s such a great idea at this point.”

When asked by reporters about a possible meeting with Putin, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Tuesday said Congress “would certainly not be giving him an invitation to do a joint session,” since that is “something we reserve for allies.” Ryan added that he is comfortable with presidents meeting one-on-one with foreign leaders, but what matters is the message they present.

“If the message is ‘stop meddling in our country’ – ‘stop violating our sovereignty’ – then I support that,” Ryan said.

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