GOP nominee Donald Trump on Monday gave valuable attention to Paul Nehlen, who hopes to defeat House Speaker Paul Ryan in an upcoming Republican primary campaign.
"Thanks to @pnehlen for your kind words, very much appreciated," Trump tweeted Monday evening.
Trump fired off that tweet after Nehlen accused Ryan of "misrepresent[ing]" Trump's position on Muslim immigration and echoed Trump's attacks on Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who spoke at the Democratic National Convention. Ryan issued a statement implicitly rebuking Trump, but the GOP nominee has been looking for more congressional defenders during this controversy.
"America's greatness is built on the principles of liberty and preserved by the men and women who wear the uniform to defend it," Ryan said on Sunday. "As I have said on numerous occasions, a religious test for entering our country is not reflective of these fundamental values. I reject it. Many Muslim Americans have served valiantly in our military, and made the ultimate sacrifice. Captain Khan was one such brave example. His sacrifice — and that of Khizr and Ghazala Khan — should always be honored. Period."
Nehlen, who is trying to mobilize Trump supporters against Ryan in his primary campaign this summer, responded in defense of Trump.
"[E]ven if Mr. Trump was proposing a permanent ban on all Muslims coming to America, that position would NOT be prohibited by the Constitution's 'religious test' clause," a post on his campaign blog said. "If Speaker Ryan – who clearly hasn't thought this all the way through — rejects the notion of a 'religious test' for immigration, then we, as a nation, would not be able to block entry to ISIS soldiers who embrace and carry out the Sharia law version of Islam."
Additionally, Nehlen tweeted that "Khan specializes in visa programs accused of selling U.S. citizenship."