House Speaker Paul Ryan says Donald Trump’s comments on immigration ‘unhelpful’

Once again, House Speaker Paul Ryan was dragged Friday to a place he really doesn't like to go: Responding to something said by President Donald Trump.A day after Trump reportedly made derogatory remarks about Haiti and African nations during a White House meeting on immigration, Ryan called the president's comments "very unfortunate" and "unhelpful."Ryan came to Milwaukee to tout his party's tax overhaul during an appearance at an event organized by WisPolitics. He did that at length.But Ryan also discussed his Irish roots and said immigration is "a thing to celebrate.""I read those comments later last night," he said. "So, first thing that came to my mind was very unfortunate, unhelpful. But you know what I thought of right away, I thought about my own family."My family, like a whole lot of people, came from Ireland on what they called the coffin ships then. Came here and worked the railroads. The Irish were really looked down upon back in those days. I hear all these stories from my relatives about 'Irish need not apply.' We could basically get construction jobs, cops and firefighter jobs."On Friday, Trump denied using the words "shithole countries," to describe Haiti and African nations in a meeting with lawmakers Thursday at the White House.But Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Trump had indeed made those comments in his presence.During an interview with WKOW-TV in Madison, Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson called on Trump to apologize."When you are in public life, I think you do really need to hold yourself to a higher standard. Children are watching. The world is watching," Johnson told Capital City Sunday in a segment recorded Friday. "I think the president ought to apologize." Ryan said he wanted to get a deal done on deferred action for childhood arrivals, helping so-called DREAMers who were brought to this country as children by their parents.The Janesville Republican said there will not be a government shutdown next Continue Reading

Paul Ryan Hands Donald Trump a Blank Check for Endless War

House Speaker Paul Ryan had an opportunity not merely to reassert the authority of the chamber he is supposed to lead but also to steer the United States away from the dangerous course of endless war and steady subservience to an ever-more-powerful military-industrial complex. Ryan squandered that opportunity. In so doing, he strengthened the hand of the man the speaker has disregarded the system of checks and balances in order to serve: Donald Trump. Trump’s recklessness, ill-conceived alliances, and deference to generals and defense contractors has caused Democrats and Republicans to fret about handing him unlimited authority to order military strikes and interventions. To that end, California Congresswoman Barbara Lee secured bipartisan support on the House Appropriations Committee for her amendment to revoke the 2001 authorization for use of military force that three successive administrations have employed as a justification for military adventures abroad. Under the amendment, which Democrats and Republicans agreed to attach to the defense-spending bill, the 16-year-old AUMF would cease to be operative after eight months and Congress would have to debate whether to approve a new authorization. When Lee was the only member of Congress to oppose the 2001 measure, the Democrat warned that it was so ill-defined that it could be misread as an excuse for military attacks and interventions that had little or nothing to do with the goals of a measure approved in response to the 9/11 attacks. Her concerns were well founded; according to The Hill, “That war authorization, passed in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, as well as a 2002 authorization for the Iraq War, have together been used more than 37 times in the last 16 years by the past three presidents to justify military action in 14 countries, including the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.” Members of Congress as ideologically diverse as Congressional Progressive Caucus Continue Reading

House Speaker Paul Ryan urges Donald Trump to release his tax returns ‘even if he’s under an audit’ by the IRS

The House Speaker is speaking up. Paul Ryan said Thursday that Donald Trump should release his tax returns and pointed to his own decision to do it four years ago when he was the GOP vice presidential nominee. “I released mine. I think we should release ours. I'll leave it to him when to do it,” the Wisconsin Republican said during his weekly press briefing. "I know he's under an audit, and he's got an opinion about when to release those,” Ryan added. "I'll defer to Donald Trump as to when he thinks the appropriate time to release his returns.” Trump has faced growing criticism over his decision to not release any information about his taxes and personal finances. The GOP nominee has said he will not release his returns because he is being audited by the IRS. Legally, however, there is nothing preventing the mogul from releasing his returns now, even if there is an audit ongoing, leading many experts to believe that the GOP nominee’s returns could reveal damning information about his business dealings — including conflicts of interest or associations with foreign or criminal entities. Tax experts told the Daily News in May that Trump could be hiding multiple bombshells in his yet-to-be-disclosed returns, such as that he could be paying no taxes at all due to savvy manipulations of current real estate tax laws, or that they could show him to be worth far less than the $10 billion he claims he is. Hillary Clinton has released her tax 2015 returns, as well as returns from the prior eight years of her returns — from 2007-2014. She has also already released the tax returns belonging to her and former President Bill Clinton dating back to 1977. With News Wire Services. Continue Reading

Paul Ryan warns Donald Trump that his endorsement has limits — ‘Not a blank check’

The Republican House Speaker is finally speaking up about Donald Trump. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) hinted Thursday that his endorsement of the hate-spewing GOP nominee, does, in fact, have limits and that he wouldn’t be afraid to withdraw in the future. “If I hear things that I think are wrong, I'm not going to sit by and say nothing, because I think I have a duty as a Republican leader to defend Republican principles and our party's brand if I think they're being distorted," Ryan told WTAQ, a Green Bay, Wis., radio station. When Ryan, who so far hasn’t pulled his support for Trump despite a slew of hateful gaffes committed by the mogul, was asked whether the nominee could do something so terrible that he would eventually rescind his endorsement, Ryan replied with certainty. “Of course there are,” he said. "I'm not going to get into the speculation or hypotheticals.” “None of these things are ever blank checks. That goes with any situation in any kind of race,” he said of his endorsement. “But right now, he won the thing fair and square.” Ryan’s continuing endorsement of Trump has come under scrutiny in recent days after the candidate engaged in a series of offensive and bizarre interactions, including criticizing Muslim-American Gold Star parents, questioning America’s commitment to its NATO allies and encouraging Russian intelligence officials to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails. Even the Wisconsin Republican acknowledged the list of bizarre episodes, saying that Trump “has had a pretty strange run since the convention. You think you'd ought to be focusing on Hillary Clinton and all her deficiencies.” "I don't like doing this. I don't want to do this,” Ryan, who has criticized Trump for many of his latest antics, added about having to repeatedly step in to refute his nominee. “But I will do this Continue Reading

Paul Ryan invites Donald Trump for breakfast meeting in Washington, as Republicans distance themselves from GOP front-runner

WASHINGTON — This might be one awkward breakfast. A day after House Speaker Paul Ryan said he’s not ready to back Donald Trump for president, the House Speaker announced that he had invited Trump to Washington to meet next Thursday. JEB BUSH SAYS HE WON'T VOTE FOR DONALD TRUMP But Trump continued to insult Ryan on Friday — before swinging back against a growing list of big-name Republicans who announced they won’t back him. Trump has been invited to meet with Ryan and other House GOP leaders Thursday morning, and have a separate private meeting with Ryan and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, a close ally of Ryan’s who is working to pull the party together behind its presumptive nominee. That’s a tall order -- even with the support of party elder Bob Dole.  The 1996 GOP candidate and former senator in Kansas called on Republicans Friday to rally behind Trump.  LINDSEY GRAHAM 'CANNOT IN GOOD CONSCIENCE' SUPPORT DONALD TRUMP But Jeb Bush and Sen. Lindsey Graham joined the growing #NeverTrump chorus of Republicans Friday — with Bush warning that Trump “has not demonstrated that temperament or strength of character” to be president. Graham was even harsher, mocking Trump’s penchant for conspiracy theories and terrible standing with Hispanics. “I’m just glad we’re having the convention in Cleveland, not Area 51,” he joked in a CNN interview. Continue Reading

You have decency, sir: An open letter to Paul Ryan about Donald Trump’s imminent threat to the Republican Party

Dear Mr. Speaker, On Tuesday, you stood up and said what thousands — perhaps millions — of Republicans have been wanting to hear since Donald Trump burst on the 2016 political scene 51 weeks ago riding a downward escalator (appropriately enough, given what he was about to do the Republican Party). But you didn’t go far enough. “The textbook definition of racism” is what you called Trump’s unfounded, unprecedented attack on federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel — the Mexican-American jurist whose only “crime” has been making unfavorable rulings in the Trump University lawsuits. For days, he ignored advice to back down from this offensive and strategically foolish assault. Instead, he doubled down and directed his surrogates to continue assailing the judge. Finally Tuesday, he released a half-hearted statement that he was “misconstrued” and that he meant no offense to people of Mexican heritage. His new excuse? That Curiel is still biased — but only because he’s an Obama appointee. Seriously? Mr. Speaker, you know better. I know you know better. We have known each for some time. More than two decades ago, we both worked for GOP members of Congress on Capitol Hill. (Washingtonian magazine once identified us among Republican staffers to watch — and they certainly got it right in your case.) You were fortunate enough to actually work for a man we both admired — former Rep. Jack Kemp. While most old-school Republicans hail Kemp as one of the principal authors of the Reagan tax cuts, black conservatives like myself revered him as the person who truly got it. In a manner that few then or even today could, Kemp held a conviction deep in his heart that the Party of Lincoln and the Party of Reagan were ultimately the same. He was the cheerful warrior who went into poor minority neighborhoods — just like you did in Southeast Continue Reading

Donald Trump, Paul Ryan call meeting a ‘positive step towards unification’

WASHINGTON — Paul Ryan and Donald Trump are getting ready for their kumbaya moment, though Ryan isn't ready to bear-hug his party's standard-bearer. Trump and Ryan called their Thursday morning meeting a "very positive step toward unification" of the Republican Party in a joint statement, a move towards burying the hatchet following Ryan's refusal to endorse Trump as he locked up the Republican nomination and Trump's irritated response. "We had a great conversation this morning. While we were honest about our few differences, we recognize that there are also many important areas of common ground," the two said in a joint statement after sitting down at the Republican National Committee's Capitol Hill headquarters Thursday. "We will be having additional discussions, but remain confident there's a great opportunity to unify our party and win this fall, and we are totally committed to working together to achieve that goal." Ryan is still holding out on endorsing, an extraordinary measure for a party leader with his party's nominee that almost never happens. But he's looking to play down the party's ongoing internal tensions. After the meeting, Ryan said while he's not jumping on the Trump train he won't be standing on the tracks. "I was very encouraged by what I heard from Donald Trump," he said. "It was important that we discussed our differences that we have but it was also important that we discussed the core principles that tie us all together." Ryan, the most powerful Republican who's thus far refused to endorse Trump, made it clear that he's not spoiling for a fight with his party's presumptive White House nominee, calling him "A very warm and genuine person." But he made it clear he'd keep up the pressure on Trump to adhere to conservative orthodoxy as much as possible, admitting they'll continue to have "policy disputes" but that he hoped they could unite around "core principles." Trump sat down Continue Reading

Paul Ryan says Donald Trump’s comments are ‘the textbook definition of racist,’ but won’t rescind endorsement

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump is a racist, but he’s our racist, the Republican speaker of the House said. Paul Ryan on Tuesday said Trump’s outrageous attacks on a federal judge because of his Mexican heritage are “the textbook definition of racist comments,” some of his most caustic remarks about his party’s presumptive presidential nominee. But Ryan refused to walk away from his recent Trump endorsement. “I do absolutely disavow his comments. I think they’re wrong,” Ryan said. “But do I believe Hillary Clinton is the answer? No, I do not.” The comments mark the latest tortured Republican response to Trump’s ongoing racist attacks on Federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who he said can’t fairly and impartially preside over a lawsuit against Trump University because of his ethnicity. Ryan was slow to endorse Trump after he clinched the nomination, but reluctantly endorsed him last week after weeks of hesitation. Within hours, Trump was making his most blatantly racist comments of the campaign, and Ryan was being forced to distance himself once again. Ryan’s comments Tuesday went beyond his previous remarks that Trump’s remarks were “out of left field.” “I am not going to defend these comments, because they are indefensible,” he said. And Ryan later said that while the comments were racist, he somehow didn’t think Trump was a racist. “I’m saying that comment was,” Ryan later said on a Fox News radio show. “I’m not saying what’s in his heart because I don’t know what’s in his heart and I don’t think he feels that in his heart. But I don’t think it is wise or justifiable to suggest that a person should be disqualified from their job because of their ethnicity.” Democrats weren’t having it. Continue Reading

House Speaker Paul Ryan backs Donald Trump, following weeks of resistance

Just call him "roll-over Ryan." After weeks of withholding his support, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Thursday that he would vote for Donald Trump in the general election this fall after all. In a lengthy column written for his hometown newspaper, The Janesville Gazette, Ryan discussed his transition from frustration to ambivalence to enthusiasm when it came to the brash billionaire, and said the presumptive GOP nominee would help turn conservative ideas into laws if elected commander-in-chief. "It's no secret that he and I have our differences. I won't pretend otherwise," Ryan said of Trump. "And when I feel the need to, I'll continue to speak my mind. But the reality is, on the issues that make up our agenda, we have more common ground than disagreement." "For me, it's a question of how to move ahead on the ideas that I — and my House colleagues — have invested so much in through the years. It's not just a choice of two people, but of two visions for America. And House Republicans are helping shape that Republican vision by offering a bold policy agenda, by offering a better way ahead," Ryan added. "Donald Trump can help us make it a reality," he wrote. Ryan also pointed to his opposition to Hillary Clinton, the all-but-certain Democratic nominee, in deciding to throw his support behind Trump, whom he repeatedly criticized throughout the GOP primary process. "One person who we know won't support it is Hillary Clinton. A Clinton White House would mean four more years of liberal cronyism and a government more out for itself than the people it serves. Quite simply, she represents all that our agenda aims to fix," Ryan said, before pointing to his sit-down with the mogul last month as a pivotal moment in his transformation to Trump-backer. "Donald Trump and I have talked at great length about things such as the proper role of the executive and fundamental principles such as the protection of life. The Continue Reading

Ohio political activist to run against Paul Ryan

MADISON - A Democratic political activist from Ohio has moved to Wisconsin to run against House Speaker Paul Ryan.David Yankovich announced Tuesday that he would challenge the Republican Ryan next year. Ryan was born and raised in Janesville, which is in the southeast Wisconsin congressional district he’s represented since 1998.Yankovich calls himself “one of the original voices of the resistance against Paul Ryan and Donald Trump.” His campaign website touts the fact that he recently moved to Kenosha, and is not rich, famous or a politician.Yankovich says he plans to spend the next year and a half meeting and learning from people in Wisconsin.National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Chris Martin calls Yankovich a “liberal carpetbagger who flaunts his own lack of qualifications to run for office.”Ryan won re-election in 2016 with 65% of the vote. Continue Reading