Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Monday downplayed any potential rift with President Trump after the two publicly disagreed over the president’s proposal to end birthright citizenship.
“It’s all good. Like I said, he and I have a very long, very, very good relationship,” Ryan said on Fox News when asked about the president’s tweet last week attacking the retiring Speaker.
After Ryan said Trump “cannot” end birthright citizenship with an executive order as he suggested, the president hit back, tweeting that Ryan should be “focusing on holding the Majority rather than giving his opinions on Birthright Citizenship, something he knows nothing about!”
Ryan indicated he was in favor of Trump’s idea in principle, saying his criticism was focused solely on Trump’s plan to use an executive order.
“An executive order could force a court challenge, but I don’t think an executive order can actually make the change,” Ryan said. “That has to be either constitutional or, at the very least, statutory.”
“But should we look at whether or not in the 21st century someone coming over with a tourist visa just for the sake of having a baby here to then get citizenship, yeah I think that’s something that should be reviewed,” he added.
Trump vowed last week to end citizenship for children of nonlegal residents born in the U.S., a change he proposed during the 2016 campaign.
He did not indicate when he would sign such an order, but the concept is one of many he has floated in the closing days of the campaign regarding immigration.
A number of GOP lawmakers, including Ryan, Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.) and Chuck Grassley(Iowa) promptlyrefuted Trump’s assertion that he can end birthright citizenship via executive order since it is enshrined under the 14th Amendment.
Trump responded to the criticism by saying birthright citizenship would be ended “one way or another.”