Paul Ryan: 'You cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order'

Speaker's remarks on radio show contradict Trump

By CNN'S ELIZABETH LANDERS CONTRIBUTED TO THIS REPORT.
Tasos Katopodis/Getty

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks at the National Press Club Newsmaker event on October 8, 2018 in Washington, DC. Ryan delivered remarks on "how Americans are 'Better Off Now,' highlighting the clear contrast between Republican…

(CNN) - House Speaker Paul Ryan told a Kentucky radio station on Tuesday that "you cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order," remarks that come after President Donald Trump said that he has thought about trying to do just that.

"You obviously cannot do that," Ryan told WVLK when asked by an interviewer about the President's recent comments and where he stands on "an executive order ending birthright citizenship."

Ryan went on to say, "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."

The right to citizenship for anyone born in the United States is guaranteed in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

But the House speaker sought to emphasize common ground with the President on immigration, saying, "Where we obviously totally agree with the President is getting at the root issue here, which is unchecked illegal immigration. We -- House Republicans and this President -- are in total agreement on the need to stop illegal immigration, to secure our border and fix our laws."

Trump told Axios in an interview released on Tuesday that he believes he can get rid of birthright citizenship by using an executive order. The President said during the interview that he has spoken with counsel about the legally dubious possibility.

Rep. Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania, who is not running for re-election, suggested on Tuesday that the President's decision to float the idea ahead of the midterms amounted to "political malpractice."

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