Charlottesville: Donald Trump 'messed up' response to neo-Nazi clashes, Paul Ryan admits

House Speaker tells CNN town hall President's reaction was 'not only morally ambiguous but it was equivocating'

Kelsey Snell
Tuesday 22 August 2017 07:39
Comments
Donald Trump 'messed up' response to neo-Nazi clashes, Paul Ryan admits

House Speaker Paul Ryan, Republican-Wisconsin, has said he was disappointed with President Donald Trump's failure to denounce white supremacists in the wake of violence at a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, but Ryan said he would not endorse an effort to formally censure Trump for his response.

“I do believe he messed up in his comments on Tuesday,” Ryan said during a town hall on CNN. “I do think he could have done better.”

Ryan said he found Trump's comments “not only morally ambiguous but it was equivocating” and criticised the President for comparing the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who organised the “Unite the Right” rally with the counter-protesters who rallied to oppose them. Ryan said he did not support Trump's comment that “very fine people” were among those who participated in the rally but he said it would be a mistake to reduce the discussion over white supremacy to a partisan attack on Trump.

Rabbi Dena Feingold, the sister of former Senator Russ Feingold, Democrat-Wisconsin, asked Ryan if he would support Democrats in their calls for a vote to formally censure Trump over the comments.

“I will not support that, I think that will be so counterproductive,” Ryan said at the event in his home state of Wisconsin. “It is very, very important that we don't make this a partisan food fight.”

Feingold said her congregation is fearful in the wake of the violence and asked Ryan how he would hold Trump accountable. Ryan dismissed the idea of censure, saying Trump had taken steps to clarify his position. Ryan said a vote to condemn Trump would only further divide the country and turn the conversation into a partisan fight.

“I'm pleased with the things he said tonight to add clarity to the confusion I think he gave us on Tuesday night,” Ryan said. “It should not be about the President. This isn't about Republicans or Democrats. This shouldn't be about some vote in Congress or some partisan issue.”

The Washington Post

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in