House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) took a shot at President Donald Trump’s response to a white supremacist march in Virginia that left a counter-protester dead.
Ryan did not mention the president by name, but his statement posted Monday on Facebook clearly contradicted Trump’s insistence that “many sides” were to blame for the violence and that “fine people” had joined the white supremacist march.
“We all need to make clear there is no moral relativism when it comes to neo-Nazis,” Ryan said. “We cannot allow the slightest ambiguity on such a fundamental question.”
The House Speaker, who was on vacation with his family last week when the rally took place, said Heather Heyer had been killed by “an act of domestic terrorism,” but he said the Trump supporter accused of killing her was not part of the political mainstream.
“I still firmly believe this hate exists only on the fringes,” Ryan said. “But so long as it exists, we need to talk about it. We need to call it what it is. And so long as it is weaponized for fear and terror, we need to confront it and defeat it.”
Ryan argued that white supremacy violated America’s founding principles, and he said elected officials bore a responsibility to unite Americans during times of crisis.
“This is a test of our moral clarity,” Ryan said. “The words we use and the attitudes we carry matter. Yes, this has been a disheartening setback in our fight to eliminate hate. But it is not the end of the story. We can and must do better. We owe it to Heather Heyer, and to all our children.”