During a town hall on CNN on Monday, House Speaker Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) argued that President Trump “messed up” in his statement on Charlottesville last Tuesday, but praised Trump’s comments last Monday and earlier that night.
Ryan stated that Trump’s statement last Monday was “pitch-perfect.” He added that during his press conference on Tuesday, Trump “made comments that were much more morally ambiguous, much more confusing, and I do think he could have done better. I think he needed to do better. I actually think what he did two days ago in commending the peaceful protests against the hate in Boston was a good start. And I think, just what I heard…25 minutes ago, was exactly what a president needs to say, what we needed to hear. So, I do believe that he messed up in his comments on Tuesday, when it sounded like a moral equivocation, or at the very least moral ambiguity, when we need extreme moral clarity.”
Ryan added that the discussion about Charlottesville shouldn’t be about the president or politics, but rather goes to American and human values, and urged everyone to stand up against bigotry.
He further stated that he had “a hard time believing” that any good people would have stuck around a rally full of anti-Semitism and neo-Nazis.
When asked if he thought President Trump had done enough to denounce bigotry, Ryan answered that none of us have done enough and that all of us have to do more to ensure bigots aren’t normalized.
Ryan also denounced the censure resolution against President Trump, stating that it “would be so counterproductive. If we descend this issue into some partisan hackfest, into some bickering against each other, and demean it down to some political food fight, what good does that do to unify this country? We want to unify this country against this kind of hatred and this kind of bigotry. So, I think that would be the absolutely worst thing we should do.”
Ryan concluded that there needs to be more civil dialogue and listening about how to unify against bigotry and by declaring that people should be “calling out bigotry when we see it and we hear it and never getting right with it and always standing up and opposing it peacefully.”
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