John Dickerson interviews Speaker Paul Ryan
Taped Tuesday, June 7, 2016 in Washington, DC
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Speaker Ryan Disavows Trump “Racist” Comments, Says They Run Contrary to Republican Party’s Beliefs; Calls for Improved Campaign Tone That Unites Rather Than Divides People
JOHN DICKERSON: Mr. Speaker we're here today to talk about poverty but before we get to that I want to ask you, you endorsed Donald Trump last week it’s been about a week, how’s that sitting?
SPEAKER PAUL RYAN: (laughs) Well he could have been, it could be better. I just obviously, you’ve heard me disavow the comments regarding this judge. I don't think that that’s, that those are appropriate comments by any stretch of the mind. Hopefully this is an inflection point. Hopefully a lesson will be learned here and we can move forward with a better campaign. That’s my hope going forward.
JOHN DICKERSON: Senator Sasse, Hillary Clinton have called those racist comments. Do you agree?
SPEAKER PAUL RYAN: No I do think that those comments are racist comments. That's why I’ve disavowed them completely. What bothers me about the comments is it doesn't reflect who we are or what we think or how we think as Republicans. It's antithetical to what we believe and our principles. And so hopefully he'll not only not continue to say these things but learn from this and move forward and then offer the country a positive vision that's inclusive, that speaks to people’s higher ideals.
JOHN DICKERSON: Explain what that means, “It’s not what we believe in.” Because I think some people get confused about, they hear labels and all that.
JOHN DICKERSON: What to you is kind of evidence-
SPEAKER PAUL RYAN: We believe in equality. We believe that the notion that someone's ethnicity or race affects the way they do their job is completely the opposite of what we believe. We believe in equality of opportunity. Look, the Republican Party was founded in a schoolhouse in Ripon, Wisconsin by abolitionists. Our first president was Abraham Lincoln. So we are the party of Lincoln, the party of Reagan, the party of equality, the party of upward mobility. And so that is what we think, that’s what we feel. And so when comments run contrary to that it’s incumbent upon us as party leaders to call them out.
JOHN DICKERSON: You’re trying to sell an agenda, make a case for policies based on examination of evidence and that kind of thing. How do you do that, while this is not the first time you’ve had to speak out about the nominee of your party-
SPEAKER PAUL RYAN: That’s right.
JOHN DICKERSON:  How do you do those two things if you’re constantly having to put out fires or address them in the way you just did?
SPEAKER PAUL RYAN: Well, I’m kind of learning as I go. I believe in this job I have as Speaker of the House that it is important that I help unify our party so that we’re at full strength in the fall so that we can win an election, and what I believe that we in the House can help do are bring ideas to the table, bring an agenda to the table, bring a vision and we’re laying out our ideas starting today, six critical reforms that we call a better way, because we think we owe the country a choice of a better way forward.
But when anyone in our party, least especially our nominee, says things that run contrary to our beliefs, to our values, to our principles, we have an obligation to call them out. We have an obligation to not support those things because they don’t define who we are. But what we hopefully can achieve is offering the country a clear agenda going forward and I do believe, and the reason I did endorse him, is because I believe this agenda has a far, far, far greater chance of being made into law to improve people’s lives than it would be under President Clinton.

JOHN DICKERSON: One thing I wanted ask you that I didn't ask inside is you said that you were hoping the tone of the campaign would improve. So you're not seeing that yet?

SPEAKER PAUL RYAN: No, no I'm not seeing that.

JOHN DICKERSON: Or a tone that you could be proud of?

SPEAKER PAUL RYAN: I'm hoping that the tone improves. Look, as republicans, as conservatives, we want to run inclusive campaigns, we want to run an inspiring campaign. We want to inspire our fellow citizens and we want to earn a mandate to fix the country's problems.

And that's the kind of campaign that we are hoping for, and yes in the last few days that is not the kind of campaign we've been seeing, but hopefully this is a learning experience. Hopefully, we can learn from this. And move forward with a better tone and a campaign that everybody can be proud of. That unifies, that doesn't divide people.

Like I always say, let the left play identity politics. We as conservatives should reject every kind of identity politics. We should not be running campaigns that divide people.

Watch the video *here*
Caitlin Conant

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