Paul Ryan: "Identity politics has gotten out of control in our country"

Paul Ryan on tax reform

Speaker Paul Ryan on Friday said that identity politics have "gotten out of control" in U.S. society and warned that it has "dangerous" consequences.

"I think identity politics has gotten out of control in our country," the Wisconsin Republican said in an interview on "CBS This Morning" for the ongoing series "Issues That Matter" when asked to react to President George W. Bush's remark a day earlier: "bigotry seems emboldened."

"I think identity politics is being played on the left and on the right and I think it's really dangerous for our country," he said, adding that it seeks to "exploit fear" and "exploit ignorance" and prey on differences. "That is how you disunify a culture, a society and a country."

Ryan said that white supremacy is a "severe, awful, dark form of identity politics" and that people practice identity politics in order to divide people for gain.

Former President George W. Bush criticizes political tone in the country

The speaker said that people have entered their enclaves and have built up walls and the public needs to find ways of "breaking down these barriers" and reintegrating civil society, providing more opportunities and more economic growth, he said.

Asked about Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist who's been attacking mainstream Republicans like Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Ryan said, "It's fine...why worry about things that are outside your control?"

During the interview, Ryan applauded Senate Republicans for passing a budget resolution Thursday night, paving the way for tax reform. Ryan insisted that the GOP's plan is meant to lower taxes for the middle class, arguing that they are introducing a fourth bracket so that high-income earners do not receive a big rate cut and so that the resources go to the middle class. 

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    Rebecca Shabad

    Rebecca Shabad is a video reporter for CBS News Digital.