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Speaker Paul Ryan calls Pres. Trump's immigrant remarks 'unfortunate' and 'unhelpful'

Speaker Paul Ryan calls Pres. Trump's immigrant remarks 'unfortunate' and 'unhelpful'

"First thing that came to my mind was, very unfortunate, unhelpful", Ryan said.

"So that the visas are not given based on, you know, relations, other than the nuclear family, but are based on skills, based on what we need", Ryan said.

Mr. Trump issued a denial Friday about using that language in a Thursday Oval Office meeting where he reportedly described Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations as "sh*thole countries".

Trump has denied the remarks.

He then said their story of overcoming that oppression was "a handsome story of America". He was referring to Trump's asking, during an Oval Office meeting with lawmakers, why the US should admit more immigrants from "shithole countries" in Africa.

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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".

The speaker said the spending legislation to keep the government open would be another short-term bill to give lawmakers more time to hash out final details. "And I think it's a big part of our strength".

"You're going to have to find bipartisan consensus to fix these thorny long-term problems, and we don't have that right now", he said.

Asked how Trump's comments will affect immigration talks, Ryan responded, "We have to get it done". He was not on the same page, however, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who rejected the idea just before Christmas.

Ryan said Congress will eventually have to address making changes to the social safety net, arguing the current structure is fiscally unsustainable.


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