Speaker Ryan to House GOP: Donald Trump comments ‘not who we are’

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Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday dismissed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump‘s comments on Muslims, saying such views are “not what this party stands for and more importantly it’s not what this country stands for.”

Speaking to reporters after a closed-door GOP caucus meeting, Ryan addressed Trump’s remarks – without mentioning his name. The speaker said he doesn’t normally comment on the presidential race but was making an exception.

“Freedom of religion is a fundamental constitutional principle…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,” Ryan said.

The Wisconsin Republican said many Muslims served the country and work in Congress. He said the “vast, vast majority of them are peaceful.”

Trump on Monday called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” in the wake of attacks at home and abroad. Trump’s proposed ban would apply to immigrants and visitors alike.

Asked if he will support Trump if he’s the nominee, Ryan said he will support whomever the Republicans nominate for the presidency.

In the closed-door session, Ryan urged the GOP rank and file to steer clear of Trump’s message.

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said Ryan told Republicans “not to go down that road. That’s not who we are as a country or who we are as a party – that religious liberty is a fundamental American right and that we should never compromise on that front and that’s an inappropriate policy to pursue. He was very direct and very strong.”

Republican Rep. Matt Salmon of Arizona told reporters that Ryan told the weekly closed-door meeting of the House GOP that Trump’s remarks violate at least two constitutional amendments.

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

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