In a press conference held on Tuesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R) soundly condemned Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s call to block the entry of Muslims to the U.S. Trump’s statement, made via his campaign website www.DonaldJTrump.com on Monday, read in part,
“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on… Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life.”
Ryan noted that he doesn’t typically comment on events occurring as part of the presidential race, but that he felt compelled to do so in light of the ban proposed by Trump.
“Freedom of religion is a fundamental constitutional principle. It’s a founding principle of this country… This is not conservatism. What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for and, more importantly, it’s not what this country stands for. Not only are there many Muslims serving in our armed forces, dying for this country, there are Muslims serving right here in the House, working every day to uphold and defend the constitution.”
Despite their fervent disagreement with Trump, both Ryan and McConnell state they will support whoever is chosen as the Republican nominee.
On Tuesday, GOP Chairman Reince Priebus, in his first public criticism of Trump, stated, “We need to aggressively take on radical Islamic terrorism but not at the expense of our American values.”
When asked if he thought Trump’s comments may cause permanent damage to the GOP, Ryan replied
“I’m not concerned about lasting damage to the party. I’m concerned about standing up for our country’s principles.”
The New York Times reports that, in his defense, Trump has cited President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s authorization of the detention of German, Italian, and Japanese immigrants and classification of them as “alien enemies” during World War II. On ABC he clarified that his ban on Muslims entering the U.S. would not include U.S. citizens who traveled overseas and then returned home. Citizens would be allowed re-entry.
Reaction to his comments have not been entirely negative, however. Laura Ingraham tweeted
And Ann Coulter expressed her opinion that the Trump ban doesn’t go far enough.
Trump is no stranger to controversy and has been condemned for many of his statements in the course of his campaign. Many times, people have predicted that his support will fall apart at any moment, but nothing seems to dent his lead in the polls. In CNN’s latest poll, released Friday, December 4, he still holds a sizable lead over his competitors with 36 percent of polled Republicans supporting him. His nearest competitor in that poll was Ted Cruz, who was 20 points behind him at 16 percent of those polled saying they would vote for him. Time will tell if Trump’s latest controversial statement and the vocal opposition of Paul Ryan and others has done any damage to his lead.
Trump: Make America Great Again
[Images credited to Chip Somodevilla and Sean Rayford/Getty Images]