Paul Ryan calls Trump's 'shithole' remark 'very unfortunate'

  • House Speaker Paul Ryan said Friday it was "very unfortunate" and "unhelpful" of President Donald Trump to refer to foreign nations as "shithole countries."
  • Ryan said his ancestors from Ireland faced similar comments when they came to the US.


House Speaker Paul Ryan said Friday it was "very unfortunate" that President Donald Trump used the term "shithole" to describe Haiti and African countries the previous day in a discussion with lawmakers on immigration at the White House.

"So, first thing that came to my mind: very unfortunate, unhelpful," Ryan said, adding that his own ancestors who immigrated to the United States from Ireland faced similar hostilities when they arrived in America.

"I thought about my own family. My family, like a whole lot of people came from Ireland on what they called 'coffin ships' and worked the railroads," Ryan said. "It is a beautiful story of America, and that is a great story. That is the story today, and that is the story we had yesterday, and that is what makes this country so exceptional and unique in the first place."

He continued: "We've got great friends from Africa in Janesville who are doctors, who are just incredible citizens. And I just think it's important that we celebrate that."

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Politicians, pundits sound off on Trump's reported 's---hole' comment
President Trump reportedly used the word 'shithole' to describe African nations. Pundits and politicians were quick to respond ...
The anniversary of the devastating earthquake 8 years ago is a day to remember the tragedy, honor the resilient peo… https://t.co/58mOD3wtR8
It’s not how a president should speak. It’s not how a president should behave. Most of all, it’s not what a preside… https://t.co/9XqCQfB056
.@realDonaldTrump, your mouth is the foulest shithole in the world. With what authority do you proclaim who’s welco… https://t.co/4iGagdJPk3
If the president can’t control himself and lead this country with the authority, dignity and leadership it requires… https://t.co/1otyo1CJh6
SHAME ON TRUMP! The world is witnessing a new low today with this #ShitholeNations remark! totally unacceptable! un… https://t.co/m4YxbnHaxz
Trump Administration leading a race to the bottom on refugees and immigrants that is a betrayal of America’s future… https://t.co/PpSsf2iBRR
#NBONYCdaily Worth noting though what @POTUS thinks of #Africa ..direct flights to a s*******. Cartoon for… https://t.co/R6ocsCAJV6
President @realDonaldTrump has called Africa a shithole. How America elected a narcissist, racist, white supremacis… https://t.co/KdATPCFq24
Paul Ryan on Trump’s remark: “First thing that came to my mind is, ‘Very unfortunate. Unhelpful.’” Then, he thought… https://t.co/FZfWMvfzwm
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Numerous media reports and Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin have said Trump questioned in the Thursday meeting why the US should accept immigrants from "shithole countries," referring to Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations.

"Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?" Trump said, according to The Washington Post, the outlet that broke the news.

Trump then reportedly suggested the US instead accept immigrants from nations like Norway, whose prime minister he met with one day earlier.

Though Trump issued a vague denial that he used "that language" to describe the countries, a senator who attended the meeting confirmed Friday that he heard Trump use the word "not just once, but repeatedly."

"In the course of his comments, [Trump] said things which were hate-filled, vile, and racist," Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said. "To no surprise, the president started tweeting this morning denying that he using those words. It is not true. He said these hate-filled things, and he said them repeatedly."

Ryan is the most senior congressional Republican to weigh in on Trump's comments so far.

RELATED: Stars react to Donald Trump's 'sh-thole' comment

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Stars react to Donald Trump's 'sh-thole' comment
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Hmmm numbers 2 and 21 are very similar but the initia lie is different than the continued racism post exoneration s… https://t.co/tzRy1DmjuP
Ok 3 more and I’ll def know for sure https://t.co/wOaxLFuXes
Come on now....this is inexcusable https://t.co/5spIRN4R2t
Annnnnd.... virulently racist https://t.co/1bBU4ZkVt6
We are all sons and daughters of immigrants https://t.co/VFX8xOVk7A
I am mortified that our brothers and sisters in Haiti & Africa have hear the blathering of the idiotic 🇺🇸 President.
https://t.co/70mjHuZYrP
🤜🏾🤛🏾 https://t.co/zPYGNNHhMQ
UM #NeverForget 💩🕳 https://t.co/wN5i2M0z6q
Tonight at 11/10c, as someone from South Shithole, Trevor is deeply offended by the president’s remarks. https://t.co/4dTaMapmSG
TONIGHT: You better believe if the President is speaking his mind about certain [redacted] countries, Stephen's spe… https://t.co/itUAoOb79V
From tonight’s #LNSM: @SethMeyers responds to Trump’s remarks on “s**thole countries.” https://t.co/gUjCosn7Fn
I’m just gonna start calling him president Shithole.
Our nation was founded by immigrants, built by immigrants, made great by immigrants. They came war torn, oppressed… https://t.co/ELhZsJ6ytX
You are a racist liar. https://t.co/tUMmLqLDm4
Countries don’t immigrate, people do. The quality of a person isn’t determined by their surroundings. The point is… https://t.co/Zz5i2p2mRo
If they aren’t shithole countries, why don’t their citizens stay there? Let’s be honest. Call it like it is.
Haiti you are LOVED ❤️ https://t.co/4f4N91i9Mm
What do the people in 56 different African nations and in Haiti have in common? They are all black. Trump has not d… https://t.co/xGSuFOxcae
How is he allowed to talk to us this way?!! Are there no more moral and ethical codes left in America since he took… https://t.co/yXIArgqmca
The United States is supposed to take people from shithole countries. That’s the whole point, you dotard.
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SEE ALSO: Senator on Trump 'shithole countries' comment: 'He said these hate-filled things, and he said them repeatedly'

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