WASHINGTON — Pressed on Donald Trump’s Monday comments on the war on radical Islam, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) stressed to reporters on Capitol Hill today that the “vast, vast majority of Muslims in this country and around the world are moderate.”
“They’re peaceful,” Ryan added. “They’re tolerant.”
Trump reiterated his campaign call Monday for a ban on Muslim entry to the United States and said Muslims already in the country should “turn in the people who they know are bad.”
“They know it. And they have to do it, and they have to do it forthwith. I want to fix our schools. I want to fix our bridges. And our jobs market, we’re going to have it rocket again, we’re going to make great trade deals. But I want every American to succeed including Muslims,” Trump said.
“But the Muslims have to work with us. They have to work with us. They know what’s going on. They know that he was bad. They knew the people in San Bernardino were bad. But you know what? They didn’t turn them in. And you know what? We had death and destruction.”
Outside of a closed caucus meeting today, Ryan stressed that Sunday’s attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando “was another act of war against America by radical Islam.”
“At the same time, let’s also be clear. Members of the LGBT community were the targets. They were simply attacked for who they are,” the House speaker said. “This is an ideology that rejects who we are as a country — open, tolerant, free. It preys on the vulnerable and the insecure, seeking to radicalize them into murderers. This is a threat that knows no borders. This is a threat that cannot be contained. This is a threat that simply must be defeated.”
Ryan noted that House Republicans had passed visa waiver reform and refugee security test bills “to make sure that law enforcement gets the tools they need, so that we actually do control who comes and goes in this country.”
“I think there’s a really important distinction that every American needs to keep in mind. This is a war with radical Islam. It’s not a war with Islam. Muslims are our partners… they’re among our best allies, among our best resources in this fight against radical Islamic terrorism. So I think it’s very important to that we honor that distinction. And let’s remember we’re all in this together,” he added.
“You know, we’re not LGBT Americans, Republican Americans, Democrat Americans, Muslim Americans. We’re Americans. And as Americans, we need to up our game to deal with and confront this real threat. We don’t think the administration has done a good enough job confronting this threat. We think more needs to be done.”
Ryan said the “preferred route to go” in regards to entry screening is “a security test — not a religious test.”
He opposed Trump’s Muslim ban proposal when the presumptive GOP nominee first introduced the idea, and stood by his opposition today.
“I do not think a Muslim ban is in our country’s interest. I do not think it is reflective of our principles not just as a party, but as a country. And I think the smarter way to go in all respects is to have a security test and not a religious test,” Ryan said.
Asked if Trump could enact a ban on entry to the United States by Muslims, Ryan replied, “You can go into the 1952 Immigration and Naturalization Act to determine whether or not the president has that kind of discretion of not.”