"This is not conservatism." With those four simple words, House Speaker Paul Ryan dismissed Republican front-runner Donald Trump's proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entry into the United States until the federal government gets terrorism committed in the name of Islam figured out.
"This is not what our party stands for," Ryan added, "and, more importantly, it's not what our country stands for."
That may depend on how the party is defined. While elected Republicans have almost unanimously distanced themselves from Trump's Muslim gambit, one poll found that nearly two-thirds of GOP voters agreed with him. Another determined that more than three-fourths believe the United States is accepting too many immigrants from the Middle East.
There is a civil war in the Republican Party on immigration. Those on Trump's side tend to see the enemy as including the party's leadership, consultants, intellectuals and donor class. (The dust-up over Trump and Muslims is likely to bolster that perception.) But they've been courted by other GOP presidential candidates too, including Ted Cruz, Scott Walker and Rick Santorum.