House Speaker Paul Ryan may have recently backed Donald Trump for president, but the highest ranking Republican took the gloves off to criticize the nominee for his comments about a Hispanic judge that have been perceived as biased.
"Claiming a person can't do their job because of their race is sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment," Ryan told reporters Tuesday.
The politician's rejection of Trump's comments about U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is overseeing fraud lawsuits against Trump University, comes just five days after Ryan — some say begrudgingly — endorsed the billionaire for president.
"I regret those comments that he made," Ryan said in Washington, D.C., of Trump's comments while discussing a plan to combat poverty. "I think that should be absolutely disavowed."
In a sign that Trump disagrees with the speaker's assessment, Trump proxy and former rival, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, quickly told reporters just the opposite.
“I know Donald Trump, I’ve known him for 14 years, and Donald Trump is not a racist,” Christie, whose state is voting along with all-important California and several others Tuesday, told reporters. “The allegations that he is are absolutely contrary to every experience I’ve had with him over the past 14 years.”
Meanwhile, other high-profile Republicans have come out against Trump.
New Hampshire Senate Republican Kelly Ayotte told WMUR: "Trump's comments are offensive and wrong, and he should retract them." However, the senator said she still intends to vote for Trump.
South Carolina Senator and presidential also-ran, Lindsey Graham, went a step further with his criticism of Trump's comments by urging Republicans who've endorsed the billionaire to take their endorsement back.
“This is the most un-American thing from a politician since Joe McCarthy,” Graham told The New York Times. “If anybody was looking for an off-ramp, this is probably it.”
He added. “There’ll come a time when the love of country will trump hatred of Hillary.”