WASHINGTON - House Speaker Paul Ryan says that President Donald Trump's vulgar slur about Africa was "very unfortunate, unhelpful."
The Wisconsin Republican was referring to Trump's asking during an Oval Office meeting with lawmakers why the U.S. should admit more immigrants from "sh*thole countries" like Africa.
Trump on Friday denied using certain "language," but didn't offer more specifics. Illinois Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin said Friday that Trump "said these hate-filled things and he said them repeatedly."
Ryan said his ancestors were Irish and "were really looked down upon." He called immigration "a great story" and said Haitians in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin, are "incredible citizens."
Ryan made his remark Friday at a public forum at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Democratic and Republican lawmakers criticized Trump's comments as "divisive" and "unacceptable," while Haiti, one of the countries explicitly named by Trump, summoned the top U.S. diplomat there to discuss the president's remarks.