Ryan: Reported '****hole' comment by Trump 'very unfortunate, unhelpful'

Posted at 12:19 PM, Jan 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-12 14:02:17-05

Janesville's Speaker of the House of Representatives has criticized the comments reportedly made by President Donald Trump about Haiti and African nations during a meeting on immigration Thursday.

While at a luncheon in Wisconsin, Speaker Paul Ryan spoke about those comments in which Trump is reported to have called those nations "****hole countries."

"The first thing that came to my mind was 'very unfortunate, unhelpful.' What I thought of right away was my own family. My family, like a whole lot of people, came from Ireland on what they called coffin ships then, came here and worked the railroads. The Irish people were really looked down upon in those days. I hear all these stories from my relatives about 'Irish need not apply.' We could basically get construction jobs (or be) cops or firefighters."

Ryan spoke about his great-great-grandfather having to work those kind of jobs as immigrants until they settled in Janesville, and about the path of immigrants finding prosperity in America as "a thing to celebrate."

"It's a big part of our strength, whether you're coming from Haiti...we've got great friends from Africa in Janesville who are doctors, who are just incredible citizens. I just think it's important we celebrate that."

The President denied the comments on social media.