Retiring U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) is pushing back against President Donald Trump’s threat to end birthright citizenship with an executive order.
Trump “obviously cannot do that,” Ryan told Kentucky talk radio station WVLK in an interview on Tuesday.
“You cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order,” Ryan said. “As a conservative, I’m a believer in following the plain text of the Constitution, and I think in this case the 14th Amendment is pretty clear, and that would involve a very, very lengthy constitutional process. But where we obviously totally agree with the president is getting at the root issue here, which is unchecked illegal immigration.”
On Wednesday, Trump fired back at Ryan, whom the president thinks “should be “focusing on holding the majority rather than giving his opinions on Birthright Citizenship, something he knows nothing about!”
Paul Ryan should be focusing on holding the Majority rather than giving his opinions on Birthright Citizenship, something he knows nothing about! Our new Republican Majority will work on this, Closing the Immigration Loopholes and Securing our Border!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2018
Those that oppose the president begrudgingly found themselves coming to Ryan’s defense, but they made some good points.
Ryan certainly knows more about it than Trump.
Considering that he came from a family of lawyers & politicians, & was educated in Poli Sci, spending virtually his entire career in politics, I'm pretty sure he'd know better than you. Btw, FUCK YOU for making me defend Paul Ryan!
— Tammy Veretto-Stager (@HunnyCayx124) October 31, 2018
Speaker Ryan knows more about the Constitution than you can lie about.
— Lt.Dan (@LtDan53145499) October 31, 2018
Yeah, I guess you have more knowledge on this issue, just like you know more than the Generals do. It's amazing how smart you are and how fooled those who support you are. And when you fail at this, blame others as you're so good at doing.
— America's Flyboys (@amflyboys) October 31, 2018
Not a Ryan fan either, but he has been in congress for nearly 20 years, and likely has a bit more of a clue about what is and is not possible than someone who has made a lifetime career of being a con man.
— Rebecca Mades Dana (@rlmades) October 31, 2018
Not a Paul Ryan fan by any stretch but I'm guessing his dog knows more about Constitutional Law than Trump.
— ˈtərbō™ (@TurboDemVoter) October 31, 2018
He's not my favorite, but Paul Ryan seems way more intelligent than you are about such matters — and in general.
— Diane Smith (@TheDiane0905) October 31, 2018
Others pointed out the president’s hypocrisy on how he approaches constitutional amendments; namely, why is the 14th Amendment subject to change while the 2nd isn’t?
So it's OK to attack the 14th Amendment but not the 2nd?
— Wayne Pardo (@moustasch1) October 31, 2018
The constitution is not a loophole, you dope.
— LiDu (@lisa_dubbert) October 31, 2018
Trump, as president, does not have the power to change the Constitution.
You don’t have the authority to unilaterally change the constitution. Not one single word in it.
— Harvey Cottrell (@harvey_cottrell) October 31, 2018
Though one person asked an awkward question:
You gonna take Barron's away?
— Fred Harding (@OPCGhost) October 31, 2018
Also breaking from the president, albeit less blatantly, was Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX), who said birthright citizenship is “a symptom of a bigger problem. And my position on immigration is pretty simple: legal immigration is good, illegal immigration is bad.”
Cornyn believes the solution lies with Congress.