Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Thursday defended his endorsement of Donald Trump, saying that the presumptive presidential nominee “won fair and square.”
“The person who wins 1,237 delegates by the Republican electorate wins the primary,” Ryan told Wisconsin radio host Jay Weber, Politico. reported. “It’s just that simple.”
Ryan’s support for Trump has been under the microscope since the candidate accused an Indiana-born federal judge of bias because of his Mexican heritage, drawing rebukes from both Democrats and Republicans.
Earlier this week, Ryan called Trump’s remarks “the textbook definition of racist comments.” The Speaker later clarified that he wasn’t calling Trump a racist, only pointing out that his comments were.
“No, I’m not — I’m saying that the comment was,” Ryan said. “I don’t know what’s in his heart. I can’t speak to that whatsoever. What I’m saying is to suggest that a person’s race disqualifies them to do their job is textbook. That’s what I’m saying.”
But Ryan expressed optimism that Trump can “fix this” and run a positive campaign going forward.
“Do I think that these kind of antics are distracting and give us a campaign that we cannot be part of? Yeah,” Ryan said in the Thursday interview. “But, I think and hope and believe that he can fix this to the point where he can hopefully run a campaign that we can all be proud of.”
Trump has repeatedly accused Judge Gonzalo Curiel of bias and said that he cannot preside over a lawsuit against Trump University because “he’s a Mexican” and even said that it’s “absolutely” possible he’d be treated unfairly by a Muslim judge.
The real estate mogul issued a statement earlier in the week that the media “misconstrued” his comments.
“It is unfortunate that my comments have been misconstrued as a categorical attack against people of Mexican heritage. I am friends with and employ thousands of people of Mexican and Hispanic descent,” Trump said.
“I do not feel that one’s heritage makes them incapable of being impartial, but, based on the rulings that I have received in the Trump University civil case, I feel justified in questioning whether I am receiving a fair trial.”