Paul Ryan: Trump's comments on immigration 'unhelpful'

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House Speaker Paul Ryan told the story of his own family's journey to America in response to Trump's vulgar immigration remark. Trump asked during an Oval Office meeting why we should admit more immigrants from "shithole countries" like Africa. (Jan. 12) AP

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., was in Milwaukee on Friday, Jan. 12, 2018, to talk about the tax plan during a luncheon presented by WisPolitics.(Photo: Bill Glauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

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MILWAUKEE — A day after President Trump made derogatory remarks about immigrants, House Speaker Paul Ryan in Milwaukee called the president‘s

Ryan discussed his Irish roots and said immigration is “a thing to celebrate.”

“I read those comments later last night. So the first thing that came to my mind was, very unfortunate, very unhelpful. But you know what I thought of right away? I thought of my own family.

“My family, like a whole lot of people, came from Ireland on what they called the coffin ships then. Came here and worked the railroads. The Irish were really looked down upon back in those days. I hear all these stories from my relatives about ‘Irish need not apply.‘ We could basically get construction jobs, cops and firefighter jobs.”

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On Friday, Trump denied using the words “shithole countries,” to describe Haiti and African nations in a meeting with lawmakers Thursday.

But Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said that Trump had indeed made those comments in his presence.

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Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin says he personally heard President Donald Trump use "vile and racist" remarks during an immigration meeting with lawmakers. USA TODAY

Of immigration, Ryan said: “I see this as a thing to celebrate. And I think it‘s a big part of our strength.”

Ryan came to Milwaukee Friday to talk up the Republican Party‘s tax plan during a luncheon presented by WisPolitics.

Ryan has been making a full-court press on the benefits of the tax bill and has focused on companies that have already offered bonuses and pay raises since the Republican overhaul was signed into law.

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During an interview that posted Friday on C-SPAN, Ryan predicted that Democrats will “regret” not having backed the plan.

Referring to the 2018 midterms and the possibility of a wave of Democrats being election to Congress, Ryan said: “History says we should lose 32 seats … we have to buck history.”

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President Donald Trump, flanked by Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan, arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington February. 28, 2017, for his address to a joint session of Congress.  Associated Press U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan (right) and Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky., left) leave after they spoke to members of the media in front of the West Wing of the White House Feb. 27, 2017.  Getty Images Donald Trump, then President-elect, holds up a Green Bay Packers jersey given to him by House Speaker Paul Ryan at a rally Dec. 13, 2016, in West Allis.  Associated Press U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (from left), House Speaker Paul Ryan and Gov. Scott Walker, acknowledge the crowd after they speaking at the GOP 1st Congressional District Fall Fest at the Walworth County Fairgrounds in Elkhorn Oct. 8, 2016.  Journal Sentinel files Janesville Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan talks to reporters at the Janesville Constituent Center on 20 South Main Street, in Janesville May 9, 2016.  Mike De Sisti / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Speaker Paul Ryan was a special guest at the Shalom Center in Kenosha‘s Volunteer Awards and Recognition Luncheon April 22, 2016 held at the Woman‘s Club of Kenosha. Mary Bosman, 95, was recognized as volunteer of the year (in red).  Journal Sentinel files A person takes a photo of a new sign for new House Speaker Paul Ryan, above the hallway leading to Ryan‘s office on October 30, 2015. Ryan became the 54th speaker of the House.  Associated Press Outgoing House Speaker John Boehner (right) hugs his successor, Rep. Paul Ryan, in the House Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington Oct. 29, 2015.  Journal Sentinel files Rep. Paul Ryan emerges from a closed-door meeting of House Republicans on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 14, 2014.  Associated Press Rep. Paul Ryan campaigns at Carroll University in Waukesha on Oct. 15, 2012. Paul Ryan showed off the blaze orange and camo colored cell phone case purchased for the upcoming deer hunting season.  Journal Sentinel files Presumptive Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan greets people after a send-off rally Aug. 27, 2012 at Joseph A. Craig High School in Janesville. Ryan was heading to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.  Journal Sentinel files Republican presidential presumptive nominee Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan, Romney‘s choice for vice-president, make a homecoming appearance at the Waukesha expo Aug. 12, 2012.  Journal Sentinel files Rep. Paul Ryan with his wife Janna Ryan and children at the Waukesha County Expo Center August 12, 2012 in Waukesha.  Journal Sentinel files Mitt Romney held a campaign rally in Janesville at Monterey Mills. He was greeted by Gov. Scott Walker (right), Rep. Paul Ryan (center-left) and Reince Priebus (far left).  Michael Sears / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Mitt Romney is introduced by Rep. Paul Ryan at his post-election gathering at the Grain Exchange room in downtown Milwaukee on April 3, 2012. Romney won the Republican presidential primaries in Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia.  Journal Sentinel files Presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney is joined by Rep. Paul Ryan as they pose for a picture for Tracy Davies of Mukwonago, who wanted a picture of her two children Taylor, 2 and Andrew, 5 with Romney.  Journal Sentinel files Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney clowns around with Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Ron Johnson as they get ready to serve food to supporters during a pancake brunch at the Bluemound Gardens Restaurant in Wauwatosa on April 1, 2012.  Journal Sentinel files Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney picks up the endorsement of Rep. Paul Ryan while he greets folks at Serb Hall on March 30, 2012.  Journal Sentinel files Rep. Paul Ryan holds up a copy of his budget plan, entitled “The Path to Prosperity,” on March 20, 2012, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington.  Associated Press It was overflow capacity at the Oak Creek Police Station for a Rep. Paul Ryan listening session on April 28, 2011. Ryan is under increased scrutiny over his budget bill.  Journal Sentinel files Paul Ryan speaks during a listening session April, 26, 2011 at Gateway Technical College in Kenosha.  Journal Sentinel files Rep. Paul Ryan works with Republican members of the committee on Capitol Hill in Washington April 5, 2011. At right is committee member Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif.  Associated Press A jubilant Rep. Paul Ryan greets his supporters gathered in the ballroom at the Mariott Hotel in Racine on election night November 2, 2010. Ryan defeated Democratic challenger John Heckenlively earlier in the evening.  Associated Press Rep. Paul Ryan meets with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Editorial Board on Sept. 8, 2010.  Journal Sentinel files Rep. Paul Ryan at the Franklin Public Library with a copy of the massive 1990-page health care overhaul bill that the House majority came up with and unveiled October 30, 2009. It was a standing room only crowd, that seemed to be mostly against the bill. Here Ryan addresses questions regarding the bill.  Journal Sentinel files Paul Ryan makes a dash for the door of the East Troy Public library after being dropped off by a staff member in the parking lot for a listening session April 14, 2009. He was running about 5 minutes late.  Journal Sentinel files Paul Ryan, ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, talks about an alternative Republican budget plan he is pushing in the House on April 1, 2009, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington.  Associated Press Wisconsin Reps. James Sensenbrenner (left), Paul Ryan, and former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy G. Thompson look over their speeches before speaking at the state Republican party convention in Lake Geneva May 12, 2007.  Journal Sentinel files President George Bush and Rep. Paul Ryan arrive at the 440th Airlift Wing in Milwaukee on July 11, 2006.  Journal Sentinel files Rep. Paul Ryan waves to Wisconsin delegates after speaking at the 2004 Republican National Convention in Madison Square Garden in New York City, Sept. 1, 2004.  Journal Sentinel files Rep. Paul Ryan (left,) holding his 9-month-old son Charlie, greets Gerald Wallace of Kenosha, who was holding his 5-week-old daughter Rachel on Feb. 28, 2004. Both men were attending the Republican Party of Kenosha County 2004 Membership Caucus at the Parkway Chateau in Kenosha. Ryan also spoke at the event.  Journal Sentinel files At U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, U.S. Reps. Mark Green and Paul Ryan present banner with signatures of Wisconsin residents to Marines guarding the facility.  Journal Sentinel files Paul Ryan (center), one of three new representatives heading to Congress, greets Louise Parker (left) and Grace Larson, both from Racine, while they were having lunch at the Cottonpicker Restaurant & Lounge, in Burlington Nov. 4, 1998.  Journal Sentinel files Paul Ryan takes time to visit with his youngest campaign worker, his 10-month-old niece Murray Ryan, and her mother, sister-in-law Oakleigh Ryan, as they waited for voting results at an election night celebration in Burlington on Nov. 3, 1998.  Michael Sears / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 1st District congressional candidates Lydia Spottswood (left) and Paul Ryan enjoyed a light moment before the start of their debate on Oct. 7, 1998, at Blackhawk Technical College in Janesville.  Journal Sentinel files

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