Donald Trump’s comments criticizing a judge based on his ethnic background are “the textbook definition of racist comments,” Speaker Paul Rya (R-Wisconsin) said Tuesday during an event on poverty.
“I regret these comments that he made,” Ryan said. “Saying a person can’t do their job because of their race is sort of the textbook definition of racist comments … I think that should be absolutely disavowed.”
Ryan received many questions about Trump at the event which was supposed to highlight the House GOP’s agenda. “I think they’re wrong. I don’t think they’re right-headed,” the Speaker said.
Ryan called Trump’s comments “indefensible” but did not say he’s rescinding his endorsement.
“I’m not going to even pretend to defend them,” Ryan said. “I’m going to defend our ideas. I’m going to defend our agenda. What matters to us most is our principles and the policies that come from those principles, and our ability to give the people of this country a better way forward,” Ryan said.
The Speaker said he is backing Trump because he believes the country is better off with a Republican nominee than Hillary Clinton as president. Ryan said his poverty reform proposals would be more likely to become law in a Trump administration.
Ryan also warned that the GOP would be “doomed” if it is divided in November. “If we go into the fall divided we are doomed to fail,” he said.