According to multiple sources with direct knowledge, at a private dinner earlier this year, House Speaker Paul Ryan said he thought only “one member” wanted to build a wall across the entire U.S.-Mexico border. One of those sources: Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO).
“Ryan told a group of Republicans he met with … that only one person wants a wall,” Tancredo told Breitbart News shortly after the dinner.
“Of course he means only one person in his entourage and of the leadership,” Tancredo said. “I know several people in Congress who want a wall and I know that there are millions of Americans who want a wall.”
“You have to understand the level of fear that exists in the Republican establishment about this issue,” he added. “The Chamber of Commerce doesn’t want a wall … the pressure is greater from the Chamber of Commerce than it is from the members. That’s the basic problem. It was then. It is now.”
Additionally, another House GOP member, who supports a border wall, confirmed Ryan’s comment to Breitbart News but suggested that he was only attempting to summarize the disparate voices in the House GOP caucus. Here’s what he had to say:
“All this narrative serves to inform is that Ryan’s is making a point of listening to Members and that Members mostly are trying to listen to each other. I believe it is true that support for the wall is not as strong as it needs to be among House Republicans.”
“Another thing I have noticed is that Members’ knowledge and opinions on immigration seem to only be traceable back to their arrival in Congress. Not many brought much experience or knowledge on the topic with them. 64% swore in January 2011 or later. They only know that which was debated in the Obama era. Some are Never Trumpers.
We have work to do.”
While these sources have come forward with this information, the office of Speaker Ryan and another House GOP member in attendance at the dinner would neither confirm nor deny Ryan’s comment about support for the wall.