Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanRyan says key ObamaCare payments will continue during House lawsuit The Hill's 12:30 Report Rove: Freedom Caucus did Trump ‘grave disservice’ MORE (R-Wis.) on Tuesday condemned presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpObama should testify before Senate Intelligence Committee Trump should run Twitter like a business The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE's call to ban all Muslims from entering the United States.
"This is not who we are as a party or a country," Ryan told his House GOP colleagues during a closed-door meeting at the Capitol Hill Club, according to a source in the room.
Ryan's remarks were met with applause.
The Speaker had initially been silent when Trump made his remarks Monday night. His office only pointed to remarks he made on the House floor in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris, saying GOP legislation boosting screening for Syrian refugees would not be based on any sort of “religious test.”
But at a news conference after Tuesday’s meeting, Ryan took a rare step to publicly bash the GOP presidential frontrunner, reading from a lengthy prepared statement.
“Freedom of religion is a fundamental constitutional principle; it is a founding principle of this country,” Ryan, the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee, told reporters. “Normally I do not comment about what’’s going on in the presidential election; I will take an exception today.
“This is not conservatism,” the Speaker continued. “What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for and more importantly it’s not what this country stands for.
“Not only are there many Muslims serving in our armed forces dying for this country,” Ryan said, “there are Muslims serving right here in the House working everyday to uphold the Constitution.”
Asked whether he would back Trump if he wins the GOP nomination next year, Ryan replied: "I’m going to support whomever the Republican nominee is, and I'm going to stand up for what I believe as I do that."
- This story was updated at 11:19 a.m.