US House Speaker Ryan: Republican nominee must reject bigotry

Ryan: Republican Nominee Must Reject Bigotry
Ryan: Republican Nominee Must Reject Bigotry

WASHINGTON, March 1 (Reuters) - U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said on Tuesday that the Republican presidential nominee must reject any group "built on bigotry," an admonishment aimed at Donald Trump after the front-runner failed to disavow a white supremacist group in an interview.

"If a person wants to be the nominee of the Republican Party, there must be no evasion and no games. They must reject any group or cause that is built on bigotry," Ryan told reporters after a Republican Party meeting.

SEE ALSO: Here's who has the best chance at being our next president

"This party does not prey on peoples' prejudices. We appeal to their highest ideals," Ryan said.

Until now Ryan, a former vice presidential candidate, has tried to stay out of the 2016 presidential race by sidestepping questions. He reiterated on Tuesday he would support whoever becomes the Republican nominee.

But the Republican speaker was clearly unhappy with an interview that Trump gave to CNN on Sunday in which the candidate did not clearly condemn white supremacist support.

RELATED GALLERY: See photos of Super Tuesday across the country

Ryan's comments came as many in the Republican Party struggle to come to terms with the growing possibility that Trump will be their nominee, with some Republicans repudiating him while others offer him their support.

%shareLinks-quote="If a person wants to be the nominee of the Republican Party, there must be no evasion and no games. They must reject any group or cause that is built on bigotry" type="quote" author="Paul Ryan" authordesc="" isquoteoftheday="false"%

Ryan spoke on Super Tuesday, the biggest voting day in the race to pick the 2016 presidential nominees for the November election. A number of Southern states including Virginia are holding contests, and opinion polls show Trump is likely to consolidate his status as the favorite to win the nomination.

"We should be having a serious debate about the policies needed to restore the American idea. Instead the conversation over the last few days has been about white supremacist groups," Ryan told reporters.

"As you know, I try to stay out of the day-to-day ups and downs of the primaries. But I've also said when I see something that runs counter to who we are as a party and as a country, I will speak up," the speaker said. He added that he hoped it was the last time he would have to speak out on the presidential race.


More on AOL.com:
Nobel laureate Vargas Llosa calls Trump a 'clown and a fascist'
New bin Laden documents show a suspicious, pressured al Qaeda
A group of 30 black students were reportedly removed from a Donald Trump rally before it even started