In an opinion piece Monday, Dr. Spreedhar Potaratu defended House Speaker Paul Ryan for announcing his support for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. “There isn’t a more dignified or professional politician in America than House Speaker Paul Ryan. He is principled, he is dignified, he is an idealist, he is a man of conviction,” he wrote.
Those traits were evident when Ryan, while unveiling the House Republicans’ plan to combat poverty, was asked Tuesday to address Trump’s comments aimed at U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel. Trump said he couldn’t get a fair hearing in the lawsuit against Trump University because Curiel is a “Mexican,” even though the judge was born and raised in the U.S.
“I disavow those comments,” Ryan said, as seen in a C-SPAN video of the event. “I regret those comments that he made.”
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Ryan was asked if Trump was a racist. “Claiming a person can’t do the job because of their race is sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment,” the speaker said. “I think it that it should absolutely be disavowed. It’s absolutely unacceptable.”
But Ryan added the consequence for not going forward with Trump means Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton will become president. “But do I believe that Hillary Clinton is the answer? No. I do not,” he said. “Do I believe that Hillary Clinton is going to be the answer to solving these problems [referring supposedly to his proposals to end poverty]? I do not. I believe that we have more common ground on the policy issues of the day, and we have more likelihood of getting our policies enacted, with him than we do with her.”
Again asked about Trump’s comments, Ryan responded, “I do absolutely disavow those comments. I think they’re wrong. I don’t think they’re right-headed, And the thinking behind it is something I don’t even personally relate to,” adding that when someone says something they know is wrong they should “admit it.”
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“I’m not going to even pretend to defend” Trump’s comments, Ryan told reporters. “I’m going to defend our ideas. I’m going to defend our agenda.”
Ryan elaborated that in order to get Republican Party initiatives passed into law, he and other lawmakers must unify. “I see it as my job as speaker of the House to help keep our party unified,” he continued.
The speaker explained why the party must stay together. “I think that if we go into the fall as a divided party, we’re doomed to lose,” Ryan said. “And that is why I’m going to be focusing on these ideas, these solutions, and not attempt to try and defend the indefensible.”
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