WASHINGTON, June 7 (UPI) — After laying out ideas to ease poverty in the United States before reporters, House Speaker Paul Ryan took the opportunity to slam comments made by Donald Trump about a judge’s ethnicity.
The news conference was called to unveil a Republican anti-poverty initiative in Anacostia, an overwhelmingly black neighborhood in Washington, D.C., but he later took time to answer questions about the presumptive GOP presidential nominee,whom he endorsed last week.
“Claiming a person can’t do their job because of their race is sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment,” Ryan said. “I think that should be absolutely disavowed.”
Trump says U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is handling cases against Trump University in California, has a conflict of interest because of his “Mexican heritage.” He said Gonzalo Curiel would be biased against Trump because of the candidate’s proposal to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexican border.
“I think it’s wrong,” Ryan said. “The way I look at this is if you say something that’s wrong, I think the mature and responsible thing is to acknowledge it was wrong.”
But he still favors Trump to become the next president over Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
“I believe that we have more common ground on the policy issues of the day and we have more likelihood of getting our policies enacted with him than with her,” he said.
Regardless of who is president, Ryan plans to push through an agenda he calls “A Better Way.”
“This is how you create opportunity, this is how you help people move onward and upward,” Ryan said about recommendations from a task force of House Republicans to combat poverty.
The plan released Tuesday has broad recommendations on tailored benefits, skills and schools, retirement saving and community accountability.
“A Better Way is a bold policy agenda to address some of the country’s biggest challenges. It takes our timeless principles — liberty, free enterprise, consent of the governed — and applies them to the problems of our time,” according to the proposal.
Specifically, he recommended:
— Requiring work requirements for welfare recipients and assistance programs, including food stamps.
— Consolidating or streamlining 18 federal food-assistance programs and housing programs.
— Giving states and local governments more flexibility in programs for at-risk youths and early childhood programs.
— Ending federal requirements and regulations for technical education programs, colleges and universities.
— Making it easier for businesses to offer 401(k) retirement savings plans.
On Thursday, Ryan will reveal recommendations for national security and in following weeks ideas on taxes, regulations and healthcare.