Breaking with Donald Trump, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan on Thursday called Russian President Vladimir Putin an "adversary" and an "aggressor" who does not share U.S. interests.
But Ryan could not bring himself to criticize Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, who heaped praise on Putin during a televised candidate forum on national security issues.
"I'm not going to sit up here and do the tit-for-tat on what Donald said last night or the night before in Hillary versus Donald. That is not my job," Ryan told reporters. "I'm not going to be the election year pundit."
Ryan has little in common with the Republican presidential nominee, except for a shared goal of defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton.
The speaker reluctantly endorsed Trump, but has repeatedly found himself speaking out against the GOP presidential nominee -- most notably when he called Trump's attack on a federal judge the "textbook definition of a racist comment."
Ryan made it clear Thursday he does not share Trump's view of the Russian leader.
"Vladimir Putin is an aggressor that does not share our interests," Ryan said, adding that it "certainly appears that he is conducting ... state-sponsored cyberattacks on what appears to be our political system."
"That is an adversarial stance and he is acting like an adversary," Ryan said.
Asked if he could still stand by Trump -- who called Putin a better leader than President Obama -- Ryan did not offer much defense of the GOP nominee.
"He won our nomination fair and square," Ryan said.
Pressed on whether he was comfortable voting for Trump, Ryan deferred: "I'll leave it at that."