Ryan: 'There is no moral relativism when it comes to neo-Nazis'

Ryan: 'There is no moral relativism when it comes to neo-Nazis'
© Greg Nash

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanUSCIS chief Cuccinelli blames Paul Ryan for immigration inaction Soaring deficits could put Trump in a corner if there's a recession Paul Ryan moving family to Washington MORE (R-Wis.) on Monday said there can be no "moral relativism" when talking about neo-Nazis in his sharpest statement yet on the violence earlier this month in Charlottesville, Va.

Ryan's message, delivered as a post on Facebook, did not mention President Trump but was clearly worded as a response to the controversy surrounding the president's remarks on the issue, in which he said both sides were to blame for Charlottesville — white supremacists and those protesting them.

As long as hate exists, Ryan said, it needs to be confronted. 

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"We need to call it what it is. And so long as it is weaponized for fear and terror, we need to confront it and defeat it," he said. "That is why we all need to make clear there is no moral relativism when it comes to neo-Nazis. We cannot allow the slightest ambiguity on such a fundamental question."

Trump's comments last week that there were good people on both sides of the clashes in Charlottesville have been rebuked by a series of Republicans. The comments have also raised consternation among many in the GOP who have worried their party could lose any chance of winning over members of minority groups given Trump's rhetoric.

Ryan's remarks appeared aimed at negating that message, even if he avoided mentioning the president.

Ryan said he felt a "range of emotions" in reaction to what happened in Charlottesville.

"Anger, bewilderment, sadness. As I said then, the views that fueled this spectacle are repugnant," he said.

"My hope was that the nation would unite in opposition to this bigotry."

America stands for the idea, Ryan said, that the condition of "your birth doesn't affect the outcome of your life."

"The notion that anyone is intrinsically superior to anyone else runs completely counter to our founding principles," he said.

"Those principles make America special. They by no means make us perfect."

The country is always looking to be come a "more perfect union," Ryan said, adding that it is that "chase" that sets America apart.

"It is the notion we are always trying to be better. This goes especially for our leaders," he said.
 
"Those of us entrusted with the privilege to serve and represent the American people have an obligation to challenge us to push beyond the passions of the moment."
 
He said this is not a legislative or a political issue.
 
"Let's not just reduce this to one of the partisan squabbles of the day," he said. "It is so much bigger than all that."
 
America needs to do better, Ryan said, adding that this moment is a test of "our moral clarity."
 
"The words we use and the attitudes we carry matter. Yes, this has been a disheartening setback in our fight to eliminate hate," he said.
 
"But it is not the end of the story. We can and must do better. We owe it to Heather Heyer, and to all our children."
 
Heyer was killed when a car drove into a crowd protesting the presence of white supremacists rallying in Charlottesville. The alleged driver, James Alex Fields Jr., was in Charlottesville to attend the rally. Fields, who was arrested shortly after the incident, has been charged with second-degree murder.