Ryan clarifies he wasn't calling Trump a racist
© Getty Images

House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPelosi, Schumer: Trump 'desperate' to put focus on immigration, not health care Trump urges Dems to help craft new immigration laws: ‘Chuck & Nancy, call me!' Sanders, Harris set to criss-cross Iowa MORE clarified Tuesday that he doesn’t think Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats slide in battle for Senate Trump believes Kushner relationship with Saudi crown prince a liability: report Christine Blasey Ford to be honored by Palo Alto City Council MORE is a racist, saying he was merely pointing out that the presumptive presidential nominee’s attacks on a Hispanic judge were racist.


During an interview with Fox News Radio’s "Kilmeade and Friends," the Wisconsin Republican was asked about calling Trump’s remarks the “textbook definition of a racist comment,” and whether he thought Trump himself was a racist.

“No, I’m not — I’m saying that the comment was,” Ryan responded, according to a transcript of the interview. “I don’t know what’s in his heart. I can’t speak to that whatsoever. What I’m saying is to suggest that a person’s race disqualifies them to do their job is textbook. That’s what I’m saying. 

“I’m not saying what’s in his heart because I don’t know what is in his heart and I don’t think he feels that in his heart, but I don’t think it is wise or justifiable to suggest that a person should be disqualified from their job because of their ethnicity,” he added.

When asked whether he would have had second thoughts about endorsing Trump if the candidate had made the comments about Judge Gonzalo Curiel earlier, Ryan said, “There’s no point of looking back in the past, hindsight’s a 20/20 thing.” 

He added that he still believes Trump to be a better candidate for president than Democratic front-runner Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonO'Rourke's rise raises hopes for Texas Dems down ballot Gabbard considering 2020 run: report Claiming 'spousal privilege' to stonewall Congress MORE.

“I know for certain that Hillary Clinton’s not going to work with us on this agenda. I know for certain that Hillary Clinton is promising four more years like the Obama years, and that is the wrong path for this country,” Ryan said.