House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday defended President Donald Trump's order to ban refugees and citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations.
"The President has a responsibility to the security of this country," Ryan told reporters after renewing his support for the temporary entry ban during a closed-door meeting with GOP House members.
"What is happening is something we support. We need to pause and we need to make sure that the vetting standards are up to snuff so we can guarantee the safety and security of our country," Ryan added.
During the private meeting in the Capitol basement, Republican lawmakers were counselled on how to handle protesters and office sit-ins happening across the country.
"It’s regrettable that there was some confusion on the rollout of this," Ryan said. "No one wanted to see people with green cards or special immigrant visas, like translators, get caught up in all of this."
Ryan also said that he was concerned the ban could be used as propaganda by terrorist groups. "The rhetoric surrounding this could be used as a recruiting tool, and I think that's dangerous," he said.
GOP congressional leadership was frozen out of the drafting of the measure and Ryan acknowledged he didn't find out the details until Friday as Trump was signing the order to shut off the Syrian refugee program indefinitely and halt the US refugee program and all entries from seven Muslim-majority nations for 90 days.
The action triggered mass confusion and chaos worldwide, split families and set off protests at airports across the country.
Some GOP lawmakers, including key senators, have complained that the administration kept GOP Hill leaders in the dark, sending them scrambling for information to help confused constituents.