Speaker Paul Ryan continued to criticize Donald Trump’s remarks about U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel’s Mexican heritage calling them the “textbook definition of a racist comment”:
“Claiming a person can’t do their job because of their race is sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment,” Ryan said at a press conference in Washington to unveil a new anti-poverty plan.
“If you say something that’s wrong, I think the mature and responsible thing is to acknowledge it.”
However, these comments don’t mean that he’s disavowing the presumptive Republican nominee, and still prefers Trump to presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
“I think if we go into the fall as a divided party, we are doomed to lose,” Ryan said.
Earlier, he remarked, “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.”
Last week, Speaker Ryan gave a tepid endorsement of Trump, using a similar argument, and framing the support as a vote for a president that would work with the Republican agenda, rather than the Democrat Clinton, who would not.
“One person who we know won’t support it is Hillary Clinton. A Clinton White House would mean four more years of liberal cronyism and a government more out for itself than the people it serves. Quite simply, she represents all that our agenda aims to fix.”
Less than 24 hours after the endorsement, Ryan came out against Trump’s comments, saying the remarks came out of “left field”:
“Look, the comment about the judge the other day just was out of left field for my mind,” Ryan said, after Trump argued Judge Curiel had “an inherent conflict of interest.”
“And so, he clearly says and does things I don’t agree with, and I’ve had to speak up from time to time when that has occurred, and I’ll continue to do that if it’s necessary. I hope it’s not,” Ryan said.
This is not the first time Ryan has disagreed with Trump on an issue. Last year, Ryan made a similar moral distinction between Trump and himself after Trump announced his proposed ban on Muslims entering the United States.
Trump has adamantly defended his claim, and agreed when asked if a judge of Muslim faith would possibly also be biased against him.
“If it were a Muslim judge, would you also feel like they wouldn’t be able to treat you fairly because of that policy of yours?” host John Dickerson asked on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
“It’s possible, yes. Yeah. That would be possible, absolutely,” Trump replied.