ABC's Stephanopoulos Challenges Paul Ryan For Supporting Trump Despite Criticism For Trump's Attacks On Federal Judge
George Stephanopoulos: "What Core Principle Is More Important To The Party Of Lincoln Than Standing Up Against Racism?"
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From the June 10 edition of ABC's Good Morning America:
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GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (HOST): We're going to turn now to my interview with House Speaker Paul Ryan. He has called Donald Trump's attack of a federal judge "a textbook definition of racism," but he continues to support the GOP nominee, who's called out critics like Ryan for political correctness. That's where we began.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI): This is something that needed to be condemned. That comment is beyond the pale. That's not political correctness, suggesting that a person can't do their job because of their race or ethnicity. That's not a politically incorrect thing to do. That's just a wrong thing to say. And I hope that he gets that. I believe he walked this comment back so I think that that's sort of an indication --
STEPHANOPOULOS: Have you spoken to him about it?
RYAN: I have and I have explained exactly what I thought about that comment. I said it publicly and I said it privately. Look, we want to offer the country a clear and compelling choice so that we can earn a mandate from the nation to fix our country's problems. And those kinds of comments get in the way of that kind of dialogue we need to have with our fellow citizens.
STEPHANOPOULOS: They get in the way, and it's not the first time. And you said in explaining why you're standing by your endorsement of Mr. Trump that what matters more to you more than anything are our core principles. But what core principle is more important to the party of Lincoln than standing up against racism?
RYAN: That's why I did that. That's why I spoke out against it. And it won't be the last time if this continues. Hopefully this won't continue. Hopefully the campaign will move in a better direction so that it can be one that we can all be proud of, but here's the point. We got two choices, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump. A Republican presidency, a Democrat presidency. Seven out of 10 Americans believe that the country is going in the wrong direction. We agree with that. So we're offering the country an alternative and we need a Republican president to work with to put that together --
STEPHANOPOULOS: But does that president have the temperament it takes to be commander in chief?
RYAN: I can't speak for his stage presence but in private I find his temperament to be much better than what you see on stage.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you're confident he could be an effective commander in chief?
RYAN: Look, I believe that he's certainly better than Hillary Clinton. These are the choices that we have. And here's the question I ask: do I believe that these principles and these policies that flow from these principles have a better chance of making the law with Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton? Absolutely. I do believe that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Even if that president then espouses values that you don't share?
RYAN: I don't know that he believes that in his heart. I don't know what's in his heart. But I do think, hope, and believe that he's going to improve the tenor of the campaign, the tone of the campaign, the kind of campaign that it's going to run. I believe we need to be inspirational, aspirational, and inclusive and that to me is what the country is hungry for.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But that's not the campaign that Donald Trump has been running, is it?
RYAN: It's not and I hope that it gets there.