Nearly a day after reports surfaced that President Donald Trump referred to African countries as “shithole countries” in a White House meeting with lawmakers, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) called the remarks “unfortunate” and “unhelpful.”
“So, first thing that came to my mind, was, very unfortunate, unhelpful,” Ryan said when asked about Trump’s reported comments on Friday afternoon at an event in Milwaukee.
Ryan, who was not at the meeting where the remarks were allegedly made, said that Trump’s alleged comments made him think of his own family, who immigrated from Ireland when the Irish were not treated very well in the U.S. He said that immigration is “what makes this country so exceptional and unique in the first place” and said it’s “important that we celebrate that.”
Since the Washington Post and the New York Times first reported Trump’s derogatory comments on Thursday afternoon, few Republicans have offered criticism of the President, including the Republican lawmakers who were present at the meeting.