Trump calls ‘weak and clueless’ Paul Ryan a ‘curse on Republicans’ and says it’s ironic he’s lecturing GOP on how to win elections in statement blaming him for Fox News shedding ‘millions’ of viewers
- Paul Ryan said GOP was at a ‘crossroads’ during address at Reagan library
- He warned the party it would not move forward if it depended on the ‘populist appeal of one personality’
- He did not name Trump but the former president wasted no time in responding
- ‘He has no clue as to what needs to be done for our country,’ said Trump
- Ryan’s attack made no difference to Senate Republicans who blocked plans for a 9/11-style commission to investigate Jan. 6 attack
Donald Trump described former House Speaker Paul Ryan as ‘a curse to the Republican Party’ after Ryan waded into the GOP‘s civil war and urged members not to rely on the ‘populist appeal of one personality.’
After keeping a low profile for two years, Ryan delivered his remarks in a Thursday evening address at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.
‘It was horrifying to see a presidency come to such a dishonorable and disgraceful end,’ he said of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol as he described the party being at a crossroads.
Trump fired back on Friday morning, dismissing Ryan as a ‘Republican in name only.’
‘Paul Ryan has been a curse to the Republican Party,’ he said in a statement posted on his website.
Donald Trump dismissed Paul Ryan as ‘a curse to the Republican Party’ after the former House speaker urged the GOP to move on from the former president’s grip
Ryan did not name Trump directly, but made clear his feelings during his speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, saying: ‘If the conservative cause depends on the populist appeal of one personality, or on second-rate imitations, then we’re not going anywhere’
Trump fired back on Friday morning, ridiculing Ryan as a ‘Republican in name only’ and blaming him for Fox losing its way
‘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.’
In a sign of Trump’s grip on the party, loyalists were quick to hit back at Ryan.
‘Taking advice on party building from Paul Ryan would be like taking advice on how to interact with your in-laws from Meghan Markle,’ tweeted Rep. Matt Gaetz, who is on an American First tour.
Ryan was once a rising star of the party. He was the 2012 vice presidential nominee but saw his brand of politics eclipsed by Trump and stepped down after three years as speaker.
He re-emerged to deliver the opening speech in the Reagan Library’s Time for Change series, which will include a number of 2024 hopefuls, such as former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Trump’s United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley.
‘Once again, we conservatives find ourselves at a crossroads. And here’s one reality 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,’ he said without directly naming Trump.
In his remarks he sought to refocus the party on conservative principles rather than the sort of identity politics and culture wars that that now dominate Republican conversation.
Mike Pence, pictured with Ryan and Trump, is also set to address the Reagan Library’s series. He too is believed to be weighing up a 2024 run, but much will depend on whether Trump decides that he wants to run again
‘Culture matters, absolutely yes, but our party must be defined by more than a tussle over the latest grievance or perceived slight,’ he said.
Ryan sits on the board of Fox Corp., which owns Fox News and which frequently hosts segments on the country’s culture wars.
That role was not lost on Trump, who has promoted other conservative TV stations over Fox ever since the network was quick to project Arizona for President Biden on election night.
‘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, said Trump.
Even so, Ryan’s public criticism of Trump makes him a rare figure in the Republican Party.
While many leading Republicans criticized Trump’s role in disputing the outcome of the 2020 election and encouraging his supporters to march on Congress, in recent weeks they have fallen back into line.
Senate Republicans on Friday blocked a bill to set up an independent commission to investigate the events of Jan. 6.
And Liz Cheney was recently removed from her House Leadership for repeatedly Trump’s unfounded statements about election fraud.