House Speaker Paul Ryan reportedly warned Republican lawmakers on Tuesday not to support Donald Trump’s legally dubious plan to ban people from entering the United States based solely on their religion.
In a private session, Ryan reportedly told his colleagues that supporting Trump’s proposal to impose a Muslim travel ban could “doom” the Republican party, according to Bloomberg. Ryan reportedly said the ban violated two amendments in the Bill of Rights, including the First Amendment, which prohibits the government from making laws that impede the free exercise of religion.
Freedom of religion is a fundamental constitutional principle—a founding principle—of this country.https://t.co/lfJSMA2TAX— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) December 8, 2015
“This is not conservatism,” Ryan said publicly after the meeting. “What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for and, more importantly, not what this country stands for.”
“Some of our best and biggest allies in this struggle and fight against radical Islamic terror are Muslims,” the speaker said, acknowledging Muslims in the U.S. military and in the House of Representatives.
Ryan was hardly the only Republican leader to criticize Trump after the businessman and reality TV star called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a GOP presidential candidate who has taken a decidedly hawkish stance against Islamic extremism in his bid for the White House, called Trump’s statement “downright dangerous” to the country. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, another 2016 rival, said the billionaire was “unhinged.”
Jeff Kaufmann, Iowa’s GOP chairman, tweeted that instead of focusing on the “Obama/Clinton foreign policy failures,” he was stuck reiterating “our founding principles are stronger than political cynicism.”
All the intra-party hate didn’t seem too phase Trump by mid-Tuesday. “A new poll indicates that 68% of my supporters would vote for me,” he tweeted, “if I departed the GOP & ran as an independent.”
As USA Today notes, the poll of 1,000 likely voters was taken before the latest “firestorm.”
Photo via Michael Vadon/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)