On Monday evening during a CNN town hall in Racine, Wisconsin, House Speaker Paul Ryan admitted Trump "messed up" on his Charlottesville statement from Tuesday. And that's something Americans had been waiting to hear from the Republican leader for nearly a week.
After blaming the violence in Charlottesville on "many sides" as opposed to immediately condemning white supremacists on Sunday, President Trump received immense criticism from both sides of the aisle. Though he denounced bigotry on Monday, he walked back on his initial statement the following day when it seemed as though he equated white supremacists with counter-protesters. During a press conference on Tuesday in Trump Tower, Trump said:
What about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt? What about the fact they came charging with clubs in their hands?
The following Monday during his town hall, Ryan directly addressed Trump's comment and told CNN moderator Jake Tapper:
I do believe that he messed up in his comments on Tuesday when it sounded like moral equivocation or at the very least moral ambiguity when we need extreme moral clarity.
Afterwards, Ryan went on to explain the importance of not turning against each other at this time. As he suggested, bigotry should be condemned by both Democrats and Republicans. You can watch the moment here:
He continued to emphasize unity among parties:
It is very, very important that we not make this a partisan food fight. It is very important that we unify in condemning this kind of violence and condemning this kind of hatred.
Though Ryan had expressed these viewpoints last Tuesday, he faced criticism for initially failing to call out Trump by name. "We must be clear. White supremacy is repulsive," he tweeted out. "This bigotry is counter to all this country stands for. There can be no moral ambiguity." There was no mention of Trump. And on the same day as his town hall, Ryan once again posted about the matter before going on air. "There is no moral relativism when it comes to neo-Nazis," Ryan wrote on Facebook on Monday. "We cannot allow the slightest ambiguity on such a fundamental question." It wasn't until later that night, that Ryan used Trump's name.
This was the first town hall event Ryan had held in nearly two years, and it remains to be seen whether or not the exposure will help him gain support or lose it.