House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday delivered his harshest rebuke of Donald Trump's attack on a federal judge's heritage, calling the presumptive Republican nominee's comments the "textbook definition" of racist.
Although disavowing Trump's comments, Ryan stood by his endorsement of Trump, saying the House GOP has a better chance of getting their policies enacted with Trump than with Hillary Clinton.
"I disavow these comments. I regret those comments he made," Ryan said at a press conference to unveil his proposal to combat poverty.
He went on to say, "claiming a person can't do their job because of their race is sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment. I think that should be absolutely disavowed. It's absolutely unacceptable.
"But do I believe that Hillary Clinton is the answer? No, I do not. Do I believe that Hillary Clinton is going to be the answer to solving these problems? I do not. I believe we have more common ground on the policy issues of the day ,and we have more likelihood of getting our policies enacted with him than we do with her. But I do absolutely disavow his comments. I think they're wrong. I don't think they're right-headed, and the thinking behind it is something I don't even personally relate to, but at the end of the day this is about ideas. This is about moving our agenda forward and that's why we're moving the way we're moving."
Trump in recent days has renewed his attack on federal judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is overseeing the civil fraud case against Trump University. Trump has said Curiel could not be impartial in his case because of his "Mexican heritage."
“I’m building a wall. It’s an inherent conflict of interest,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal.
The attack has led several prominent Republicans to denounce Trump's comments, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.