Rep. Paul Ryan publicized his endorsement of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign within moments of hosting a meeting with staff and members of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, along with supporters of FOR’s #GiveRefugeesRest campaign, a national campaign to end Islamophobia.
The move further exposed the emptiness of Ryan’s protestations regarding the vitriolic campaign of his party’s presumptive nominee, Donald Trump, and damaged efforts to create interfaith, multi-partisan solutions to Islamophobia.
The campaign, launched earlier in the year by FOR, had already met with Speaker Ryan’s DC staffers, and were joined by two members of the local Muslim community, Salih Erschen and Sabrina Erschen of the Janesville Muslim Dawa Community, to attend a follow up hosted by the speaker in his hometown.
“Paul Ryan has publicly condemned Trump’s fanaticism and distanced himself — and his party — from a platform of bigotry and intolerance,” said La Trina Jackson, an imam with Muslims for Progressive Values and an FOR National Council board member. “Ryan and his party are not traditional allies of people of color, minorities, women, immigrants, or those they view as ‘other,’ but we believed we could find common ground protecting the principles of religious liberty that so many Americans hold dear, as well as the explicit rejection of Trump’s constant vilification of entire groups of people.”
“Instead, on the eve of the holy month of Ramadan, Speaker Ryan claims he has grown sufficiently ‘comfortable’ with Trump’s ‘principles’ to offer a full endorsement, with no concessions, ‘no deals,’ and no mention of his previous condemnation of Trump’s hate-mongering,” Jackson said. “There will be no room for misunderstanding amongst the many groups Trump has targeted. This endorsement from the speaker is an endorsement of the blatant bullying, bigotry and incitements to violence that characterize the Trump campaign.”
“Politics is a game of compromise, concession and spin, especially in our two-party, corporate-dominated, dirty money driven system, but we strongly reject the blatantly duplicitous ability of Rep. Ryan to express a commitment to end Islamophobia, while — literally — at the same time endorsing the most xenophobic, anti-Muslim candidate of modern times,” said Anthony Grimes, FOR Director of Campaigns and Strategy.
“Nothing short of Paul Ryan denouncing Islamophobia on the Republican convention floor as inconsistent with American values can salvage Ryan’s misty-eyed vision of a Republican Party that rises above petty politics, cheap point scoring and fear mongering,” Grimes said.
“Paul Ryan had a clear choice to make. We invited him to join us in calling our country to higher moral ground,” said FOR Executive Director Rev. Kristin Stoneking. “He has turned down our invitation with his endorsement of Trump. America itself faces a clear choice. The Fellowship of Reconciliation has worked to challenge bigotry and injustice, to end war and persecution and to enhance cultural and religious understanding for over a century.” She went on to say that,
“We stand with the many people of conscience across the nation who are standing up to Trump, to Ryan and the politics of division, of Islamophobia and bigotry.”
Image of Paul Ryan Creative Commons–licensed.