House Speaker Paul Ryan said on Friday that President Donald Trump’s comments about “shithole” countries were “unfortunate” and “unhelpful.”
“The first thing that came to my mind was very unfortunate, unhelpful,” Ryan (R-Wis.) said at a WisPolitics.com luncheon in Milwaukee. “But you know what I thought of right away? I thought about my own family.”
Ryan then told the story of his family’s immigration from Ireland and start in America.
“It is a beautiful story of America. That is a great story,” he said. “That is a story we have today. That is the story we had yesterday, and that is what makes this country so exceptional and unique in the first place. I see this as a thing to celebrate. I think it’s a big part of our strength, whether you are coming from Haiti.”
“We have got great friends from Africa in Janesville are doctors who are just incredible citizens, and I just think it’s important that we celebrate that,’ he added before segueing into a statement on the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.
Ryan has often tried to walk a fine line in response to Trump’s inflammatory comments.
His remarks on Friday represent a softer response than when he denounced Trump during the 2016 campaign for attacking a federal judge because of his Mexican heritage.
“Claiming a person can’t do their job because of their race,” Ryan said at the time, “is sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment.”