House Speaker Paul Ryan said he believes President Donald Trump “messed up” his comments on the recent violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., Monday evening.
The Wisconsin Republican said the president’s remarks were “pitch perfect” on Monday, but he believes Trump made a mistake in saying both sides were responsible for the violent outbreak at his press conference the following day.
“I think he made comments [Tuesday] 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,” Ryan said during a CNN town hall in Racine, Wis. “I actually think what he did two days ago in commending the peaceful protests against the hate in Boston was a good start. 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.”
A group of House Democrats recently introduced a censure resolution in an attempt to publicly condemn the president, but Ryan argued that is not the right approach. Censuring the president would politicize the violence and would further divide the country, according to the speaker.
“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?” he said. “We want to unify this country against this kind of hatred and this kind of bigotry, so I think that would be the absolute worst thing to do.”
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