Echoing Trump, Ryan blasts Clinton campaign over remarks about Catholics
© Greg Nash

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHow the Trump tax law passed: Dealing with a health care hangover Dems fight to protect Mueller amid Rosenstein rumors Jordan wants Rosenstein to testify before House Judiciary Committee MORE (R-Wis.) suggested Wednesday that Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSenate panel subpoenas Roger Stone associate for Russia probe Webb: The new mob: Anti-American Dems Clinton to hold fundraiser for Menendez in NJ next month MORE should fire top advisers for remarks about Catholics made in hacked emails published by WikiLeaks.

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In a statement, Ryan, who is Catholic, accused the Clinton campaign of showing “disdain for the Catholic faith and Christian evangelicals.”

“All Americans of faith should take a long, hard look at this and decide if these are the values we want to be represented in our next president. If Hillary Clinton continues to employ people with biased and bigoted views, it's clear where her priorities lie,” Ryan said. 

Ryan's comments echo criticisms from Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: Dems playing destructive 'con game' with Kavanaugh Several Yale Law classmates who backed Kavanaugh call for misconduct investigation Freedom Caucus calls on Rosenstein to testify or resign MORE's campaign over the issue, a notable development given Trump's public criticism of the Speaker this week. 

An email exchange from 2011 showed John Halpin, a senior fellow at the progressive think tank Center for American Progress, mocking media mogul Rupert Murdoch and Robert Thompson, a former Wall Street Journal managing editor, in an email to Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri and campaign chairman John Podesta.

The leaked message is part of a hack of Podesta’s email account published by Wikileaks. 

“Friggin' Murdoch baptized his kids in Jordan where John the Baptist baptized Jesus,” Halpin wrote. “Many of the most powerful elements of the conservative movement are all Catholic (many converts) from the SC and think tanks to the media and social groups. It's an amazing bastardization of the faith. They must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations and must be totally unaware of Christian democracy.”

Palmieri, who is Catholic, replied: “I imagine they think it is the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion,” she wrote. “Their rich friends wouldn't understand if they became evangelicals.”

In his statement ripping the Clinton campaign, Ryan did not mention Trump. 

Earlier this week, Ryan told House Republicans that he would no longer try to defend Trump, though he didn’t officially rescind his endorsement.

Trump has fired back at Ryan in a series of Twitter posts over the last two days. And during a rally in Florida on Wednesday, Trump suggested there was a “sinister deal” preventing Ryan from defending him.

He complained that Ryan didn’t call to congratulate him on his Sunday debate performance against Clinton.

"You'd think they'd say, 'Great going, Don. Let's go, let's beat this crook. Let's beat her. We've got to stop her.' No, he doesn't do that. There's a whole deal going on. We're going to figure it out. I always figure things out. There's a whole sinister deal,” Trump said.

Catholic groups have also called for Palmieri to resign.

In a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway urged Clinton to let go of staff making derogatory comments about a religion.

“The hostility to religious liberty and disdain for Catholics should not go unpunished,” Conway said. “We call on Hillary Clinton to apologize and fire the staff involved in this anti-Catholic bigotry.”

Democrats accused the GOP of attempting to distract from the controversies surrounding Trump and division within the party.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday on CNN that Ryan is "trying to change the subject" from Trump.