During a CNN town hall last night, a student named Zachary Marcone asked House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) how he can morally justify his support for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
“I cannot and will not support Donald Trump, and it concerns me when the Republican leadership is supporting somebody who is openly racist and has said Islamophobic statements, wants to shut down our borders,” Marcone said. “Can you tell me, how can you morally justify your support for this kind of candidate, somebody who could be very destructive for our nation.”
Ryan’s response? Hillary Clinton is worse, and like it or not, voters face a “binary choice” when casting their ballot for president.
Not supporting Trump “basically means you’re going to help elect Hillary Clinton, and I don’t think Hillary Clinton is going to support any of the things that you stand for if you’re a Republican.”
Ryan, who last month characterized Trump’s racist attack on a Latino federal judge as “the textbook definition of a racist comment,” didn’t back away from that criticism. But he made a case that it’s more important to elect someone who will appoint conservative Supreme Court justices and help Republicans gut Medicare than it is reject racism.
Ryan plans to make a similar case to America during next week’s Republican National Convention, where he’s planning to deliver a speech highlighting “the sharp contrast between Republican ideas and four more years of Obama-like progressive policies; and the need for conservatives to unite around Republican candidates in advance of a critical election,” according to what a Ryan aide told Politico.
As ThinkProgress reported last month, Ryan endorsed Trump — a candidate who has made banning Muslims from the country a centerpiece of his platform — just hours after meeting with representatives of the nation’s oldest interfaith peace organization and promising to speak out against Islamophobia.