Former House Speaker Paul Ryan expressed his apprehension on Tuesday, asserting that the Republican Party could face defeat in the presidential election if Donald Trump secures the nomination. Ryan, known for his occasionally contentious relationship with Trump and who departed from office in 2019, articulated his hope for another Republican contender to gain substantial traction early next year and potentially surpass Trump following the initial primaries. Ryan, a representative of southeastern Wisconsin for two decades, culminating in four years as the Speaker, conveyed these thoughts at an event hosted by the Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs on the University of Wisconsin campus.
In Ryan’s assessment, the key to victory in the election lies in the party that introduces a fresh and unfamiliar candidate to the forefront. He postulated that in a head-to-head between Trump and President Joe Biden, Biden would emerge as the victor. Ryan emphasized the importance of leadership characterized by honesty, ethics, and moral values, principles he believes Trump lacks, contending that Trump’s approach runs counter to the ideals required for the position.
Focusing on pivotal swing states, including Wisconsin, Ryan underscored the significance of winning over suburban voters. He questioned whether these voters had grown more favorable towards Trump since January 6th, expressing doubt based on past voting patterns.
Ryan did not mince words when addressing Trump’s congressional followers, accusing them of lacking interest in effective governance and finding resolutions to circumvent a government shutdown. As the government shutdown deadline looms just five days away, the Senate is working to avert a federal closure, even as hard-right lawmakers exert influence over the House. Senators proposed a temporary bipartisan stopgap measure, extending funding until November 17th, to provide Congress with additional time to conclude its proceedings.
Drawing on his experience as Speaker during the previous government shutdown in 2018, which endured for a record-setting 36 days, Ryan expressed his concerns about a potential recurrence. He criticized Republicans in Congress for failing to present an alternative approach, characterizing the situation as one of nihilism, ultimately diminishing the party’s image and its capacity to effectively govern.