Updated at 12:31 p.m. on January 31
House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday offered mild criticism of the Trump administration’s handling of the president’s executive order on immigration, saying that “regrettably, the rollout was confusing.” But he stood firmly behind Trump’s move to suspend the refugee-resettlement program and temporarily block entry into the United States from seven majority-Muslim countries.
“What is happening is something that we support, which is we need to pause and we need to make sure that the vetting standards are up to snuff so we can guarantee the safety and security of our country. That is what this does. We want that goal to be achieved,” Ryan told reporters in his first extended remarks on the presidential directive, which roiled U.S. airports, sparked widespread protests, and led to the dismissal of an acting attorney general who defied the White House.
Dozens of Republican lawmakers have criticized either the substance or the implementation of the new restrictions, which initially included green-card holders and interpreters who had helped the U.S. military and diplomatic corps. The speaker has kept close to Trump since his election after denouncing several of his policies during the campaign. And on Tuesday, Ryan struck a middle ground by saying that the policy was correct but that its launch was confusing.