WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on President Trump and immigration (all times local):
House Speaker Paul Ryan says that President Donald Trump’s vulgar slur about Africa was “very unfortunate, unhelpful.”
The Wisconsin Republican was referring to Trump’s asking during an Oval Office meeting with lawmakers why the U.S. should admit more immigrants from “shithole countries” like Africa.
Trump on Friday denied using certain “language,” but didn’t offer more specifics. Illinois Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin said Friday that Trump “said these hate-filled things and he said them repeatedly.”
Ryan said his ancestors were Irish and “were really looked down upon.” He called immigration “a great story” and said Haitians in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin, are “incredible citizens.”
Ryan made his remark Friday at a public forum at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
GOP leaders are staying quiet while more moderate Republicans are speaking out against President Donald Trump’s incendiary comments in a White House meeting Thursday about “shithole” countries in Africa.
Florida GOP Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said Trump’s alleged comments were “completely unacceptable,” telling WPLG-TV in Miami that “if that’s not racism, I don’t know how you can define it.”
Moderate GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine chimed in on Twitter to call Trump’s remarks “highly inappropriate & out of bounds.” She said they are hurting prospects for a bipartisan agreement on immigration.
And Idaho Republican Mike Simpson told The Associated Press that Trump’s remarks were “stupid and irresponsible and childish.”
Simpson added that, “this is a big deal. America’s influence and power in the world has really been about our ability to persuade because of our leadership, and he’s just destroying that.”
President Donald Trump did not respond to questions about his use of a vulgarity or his question about why the U.S. should accept more immigrants from Haiti and African nations than from countries like Norway.
The questions came Friday in the White House when Trump signed a proclamation honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Day, noting the contributions of a…