Paul Ryan never had much of a stomach for a fight when serving as Speaker of the House, but he’s suddenly found the will to do battle with former President Donald Trump, the president he quit on two years into his White House term.
Speaking Thursday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library’s “Time for Choosing” series, Ryan spoke against Trump’s influence on the Republican Party, prompting the former president to quickly counter-punch.
“Paul Ryan has been a curse to the Republican Party,” Trump declared in a statement released through his leadership PAC Save America. “He has no clue as to what needs to be done for our Country, was a weak and ineffective leader, and spends all of his time fighting Republicans as opposed to Democrats who are destroying our Country.”
“As a Republican, having Paul Ryan on your side almost guarantees a loss, for both you, the Party, and America itself!” he added.
Trump not only labeled Ryan a RINO — Republican in Name Only — he also blamed him as Mitt Romney’s running mate for the GOP losing the 2012 presidential election.
“Ryan, who became a lame duck Speaker of the House, lost all vote-getting capability with the people he represented in Wisconsin, and was the single biggest factor, other than Romney himself, for the monumental Romney/Ryan loss in the Presidential race of 2012.”
The former president also commented on Ryan joining the Fox Corporation board.
“It was the day that Ryan went on the board of Fox (Fox will never be the same!) that Fox totally lost its way and became a much different place, with millions of its greatest supporters fleeing for good,” Trump said.
Referencing the Jan. 6 protest at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, Ryan stated, “It was horrifying to see a presidency come to such a dishonorable and disgraceful end.”
The former Wisconsin lawmaker, who announced in April 2018 that he would not run for re-election, essentially condemned Trump’s populist appeal that many credit for a GOP resurgence among a wider range of voters — on that note, Ryan tried to have his cake and eat it too, naming Trump to say he “brought many new voters into our party.”
“Once again, we conservatives find ourselves at a crossroads,” he said, according to KGET-TV. “Here’s the reality that we have to face: If the conservative cause depends on the populist appeal of one personality, or on second-rate imitations, then we’re not going anywhere.”
“Voters looking for Republican leaders want to see independence and mettle. They will not be impressed by the sight of yes-men and flatterers flocking to Mar-a-Lago,” Ryan continued.
The use of the term “mettle” being somewhat ironic for one who quit in the middle of the fight for America’s future.
Ryan did find time to criticize President Biden, whom he said was “pursuing an agenda more leftist than any president in my lifetime,” but was quick to insist that the GOP’s interest in culture wars and “identity politics” will result in conservatives losing their way.
“Culture matters, absolutely yes, but our party must be defined by more than a tussle over the latest grievance or perceived slight,” he claimed. “We must not let them take priority over solutions — grounded in principle — to improve people’s lives.”
“If we fail this test, it will be because the progressive left will have won by default,” he added. “It will be because the conservative cause … lost its way and followed the left into the trap of identity politics, defining itself by resentments instead of by ideals. It will be because we mistake reactionary skirmishes in the culture wars with a coherent agenda. It will be because we gave too much allegiance to one passing political figure and weren’t loyal enough to our principles.”
Here’s a few early responses to the story from Twitter:
Paul Ryan is a path to losing for the Republican Party.
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) May 27, 2021
It really is amazing that Paul Ryan, who is the reason the GOP lost the House in 2018, is going to come out today and blame Trump for the problems in the GOP.
Paul, the problem is you and your pal Liz.
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) May 27, 2021
Today is a good day to remember Paul Ryan sabotaged Trump’s first two years in office because he’s a shameless swamp creature.
— thebradfordfile (@thebradfordfile) May 27, 2021
The number of GOP voters in 2021 who care what Paul Ryan thinks on any subject: 0
Ryan joined a lobby shop operated by Bill Clinton’s advisors after helping to steer Fox News into the iceberg on election day. He’s less credible than Frank Luntz’s toupee at this point.
— Emerald Robinson ✝️ (@EmeraldRobinson) May 27, 2021
President Trump Doing An Impression Of Politicians Like Paul Ryan pic.twitter.com/3nbe4J8HKw
— The Columbia Bugle 🇺🇸 (@ColumbiaBugle) May 28, 2021
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