Paul Ryan stands by his opposition to Donald Trump’s proposed Muslim ban
WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan and Donald Trump are again on opposite sides of the debate over whether Muslims should be banned from entering the United States.
“I do not think a Muslim ban is in our country’s interest. It’s not reflective of our principles not just as a party but as a country,” Ryan told reporters on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, criticizing the presumptive GOP presidential nominee’s proposal, which Trump reiterated after the deadly massacre at a gay nightclub in Florida over the weekend.
The speaker stressed that there was an important distinction to be made in the fight against terror threats, saying, “This is a war with radical Islam. It’s not a war with Islam. Muslims are our partners.”
Ryan asserted that the focus should be on security risks, not targeting specific faiths. “Ultimately, we ought to have the tools where we have a security test, not a religious test, a security test, and we think that’s the preferred route to go.”
The speaker strongly denounced Trump’s proposal, which he first outlined in December, saying then, it was “not what this party stands for. And more importantly, it’s not what this country stands for.” He said Tuesday that he stood by those comments.
But pressed as he was walking away from the microphones if he stood by his support of Trump as the GOP presumptive nominee, Ryan ignored the question.
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid ripped into the GOP nominee on the Senate floor Tuesday, saying he failed the most important test for a presidential candidate on how to handle a crisis.
“Donald Trump failed that test,” Reid said. “He proved he is not commander in chief material — underlined, underscored.”
In an effort to show the House GOP have their own anti-terror agenda, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced GOP leaders were changing the floor schedule this week and rolling a series of anti-terror measures that already passed into one package and voting on it this week. McCarthy stressed they hoped this would give momentum for the Senate to act.
Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul also announced he was working on new legislation specifically focused on the Orlando attack.