Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin broke his broke his silence Friday afternoon and responded to President Trump’s remark about “sh*thole countries” a day earlier, calling it “very unfortunate” and “unhelpful.” The Wisconsin Republican was asked about the remark during a Q&A event at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.
“I thought about my own family,” he said, describing his Irish immigrant relatives who came to the U.S. on what he said were called “coffin ships” and began working the railroads in the U.S. Eventually, he said they opened a farm in Wisconsin after they raised enough money.
“It’s a beautiful story of America,” he said. “I see this as a thing to celebrate and I think it’s a big part of our strength.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, has not weighed in.
Mr. Trump issued a denial Friday about using that language in a Thursday Oval Office meeting where he reportedly described Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as “sh*thole countries.” The White House meeting on immigration included a bipartisan group of senators.
Mr. Trump tweeted that he used “tough” language but that that was “not the language used.” Although it is being taken as a denial of the “sh*thole” comment, Mr. Trump did not specifically reference that phrase in his denial.
After The Washington Post first reported Mr. Trump’s remarks, later confirmed by CBS News’ Nancy Cordes, the White House did not deny the comment in a statement.
A handful of Republicans have since responded.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina
Graham, who was present in the meeting, did not deny the president’s comments Friday afternoon:
“Following comments by the president, I said my piece directly to him yesterday,” Graham said in a statement. “The president and all those attending the meeting know what I said and how I feel. I’ve always believed that America is an idea, not defined by its people but by its ideals.”
“The American ideal is embraced by people all over the globe,” Graham continued. “It was best said a long time ago, E Pluribus Unum – Out of Many, One. Diversity has always…