House Speaker Paul Ryan on Friday responded to comments attributed to President Donald Trump on immigration, saying they were "unhelpful".
Reports on Thursday said that Trump, during a meeting on immigration, asked participants why the United States should accept immigrants from “s**thole countries” in Africa, Central America and the Caribbean.
"I read those comments later last night, the first thing that came to my mind was very unfortunate, unhelpful," Ryan said at a luncheon in Milwaukee, reported CNN.
Ryan recalled his own family history of emigrating to the U.S. from Ireland.
"So, I see this as a thing to celebrate," he said. "And I think it's a big part of our strength."
Asked how Trump's comments will affect immigration talks, Ryan responded, "We have to get it done."
Earlier on Friday, Trump denied describing certain nations as "s**hole countries" during Thursday’s meeting in which he rejected a bipartisan deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
He also denied degrading Haiti in those comments.
"The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made - a big setback for DACA!" Trump tweeted.
“Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country. Never said ‘take them out.’ Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings - unfortunately, no trust!” he later wrote in a separate tweet.
Meanwhile on Friday, the U.S. Ambassador to Panama, John Feeley, resigned, though a State Department official said the resignation was not related to Trump’s alleged comments.
“As a junior foreign service officer, I signed an oath to serve faithfully the president and his administration in an apolitical fashion, even when I might not agree with certain policies,” Feeley said, according to an excerpt of his resignation letter read to Reuters.
“My instructors made clear that if I believed I could not do that, I would be honor bound to resign. That time has come,” he added.
Under Secretary of State Steve Goldstein said Feeley’s departure was not a response to Trump’s alleged use of the word “s**thole”, adding he was aware of Feeley’s planned departure in advance, before Trump’s alleged use of the term, and said his understanding was that the ambassador had resigned for “personal reasons.”
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)