Vladimir Putin's regime on Thursday banned nine U.S. officials from traveling to Russia, including Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J.
Those American officials treated the sanctions as a political gift, touting them as proof that they were willing to take on Putin, under fire for his annexation of Crimea.
But the White House, stuck in a diplomatic feud with the Kremlin, took a more serious tone on the sanctions.
“The way we look at it here,” Carney said, “is that it’s certainly unfortunate an action like that would be taken.”
White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer and Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, were also among those receiving travel bans from Russia.
Lawmakers, however, greeted the news with a decidedly different reaction.
“Being sanctioned by President Putin is a badge of honor,” said Landrieu, who is now in a tough re-election fight in Louisiana.
“The speaker is proud to be included on a list of those willing to stand against Putin’s aggression,” added Boehner spokesman Michael Steel.