Ryan Opposes Censure of Trump 08/22 06:01
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan said Monday he will not support a resolution to
censure President Donald Trump over his comments following the white
supremacist march in Virginia, even though he believes Trump "messed up" by
saying "both sides" were to blame for violence and that there were "very fine
people" among those marching to protect Confederate statues.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan said Monday he will not
support a resolution to censure President Donald Trump over his comments
following the white supremacist march in Virginia, even though he believes
Trump "messed up" by saying "both sides" were to blame for violence and that
there were "very fine people" among those marching to protect Confederate
Ryan was asked at a town hall organized by CNN in his Wisconsin
congressional district whether he would back the resolution that comes
following Trump's comments about the Charlottesville, Virginia, rally. The
question came from Rabbi Dena Feingold, the sister of former Democratic Sen.
Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, who grew up in the same city as Ryan.
Ryan said censuring Trump would be "counterproductive."
"If we descend this issue into some partisan hack-fest, into some bickering
against each other and demean it down into some political food fight, what good
does that do to unify this country?" Ryan said, adding that it would be the
"worst thing we could do."
While Ryan said he wouldn't support censuring Trump, he gave his sharpest
criticism to date of the president's comments in the wake of the rally where a
woman protesting against the white supremacists was killed by a man identified
as a neo-Nazi supporter. Ryan had previously spoken out against the violence,
both on Twitter and in a statement earlier Monday, but he hadn't previously
addressed Trump's comments directly.
"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 said of Trump. "You're not a good person if you're
there, it's so very clear."
The Ryan town hall began 30 minutes later than originally planned to
accommodate Trump's nationwide address where he outlined a new strategy for
troops in Afghanistan. Trump vowed to keep American troops fighting in
Afghanistan, despite his earlier inclination to withdraw.
Ryan said he was "pleased" with what he heard from Trump and that it
represented a more comprehensive strategy than what had been in place under
former President Barack Obama. Ryan said he was also glad that Trump is moving
away from having a timetable for withdrawing from Afghanistan and wants to
prevent creating a safe haven for terrorists.
"We can't afford to allow that to happen again," Ryan said.
CNN extended invitations to people from Ryan's district and selected the
questions that were asked. That has led to criticism from Democrats who say the
Republican Ryan has been hiding from Wisconsin voters since he hasn't held a
town hall open to everyone since October 2015.
Ryan has held numerous events in Wisconsin, but he's only taken questions
from the public in controlled environments such as private businesses.
"Hopefully the media event that occurred tonight will convince Paul Ryan
that talking to his constituents is a good idea," said U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, a
Democrat representing a south-central Wisconsin congressional district that's
next to Ryan's. "In the remaining weeks when Paul is home, he might want to
schedule a real town hall or two and explain his health care bill that drops
tens of millions of people's coverage, as well as discuss his tax preferences
that would give the top 1 percent more tax breaks while working Americans
continue to struggle."
Dozens of protesters gathered outside the town hall, including Ryan's
Democratic opponent Randy Bryce, who said he sought a ticket to attend but was
The Ryan town hall event was in Racine, near where global electronics giant
Foxconn Technology Group has said it plans to build a factory that could employ
thousands. Ryan helped in negotiations with the Taiwanese company and has
joined with Trump and others in touting the news as transformational for
Ryan defended the $3 billion tax incentive package working its way through
the Wisconsin Legislature for Foxconn, citing the potential jobs and $10
billion in economic investment by the company, calling it an "exceptional deal."