Former House Speaker Paul Ryan criticized House conservatives and Senate rules Monday while warning that President Donald Trump is beatable in 2020.
Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican who stepped down at the end of 2018, spoke in Vero Beach, Florida, as part of the Riverside Theatre’s Distinguished Lecturer Series. It was one of his first public appearances since leaving Congress.
Ryan said some Democrats could defeat Trump next year, but he did not name names.
More than a dozen Democrats either have announced they are running for president or are in the process of considering a race.
In order to win, Ryan said, Trump needs to implement policies and not hope for victory on the strength of his style.
“The person who defines that race is going to win the race. If this is about Donald Trump and his personality, he isn’t going to win it,” Ryan said, according to Treasure Coast News.
He also spoke about his legacy as speaker.
Ryan blamed House conservatives, including the Freedom Caucus, for a delay that he said robbed the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare of the momentum it needed.
“That three-month delay eroded public support for it, so by the time it got over to the Senate, it was hanging on a thread,” he said.
Ryan, who governed as a moderate Republican seeking to implement a conservative form of government, said political divisions have led to congressional gridlock, fueled by the outrage machine that social media has created. Ryan’s era ended after Democrats took control of the House. The House tried in December to pass legislation to cement its agenda, with mixed results.
He said more could not have been done because of the Senate’s filibuster rules, which require 60 votes to pass most legislation.
Although Republicans had a razor-thin Senate majority for the past two years, they could not have achieved 60 votes without Democratic support, which has often not been forthcoming on politically divisive legislation.
Not everyone was impressed with Ryan’s words.
Paul Ryan refused to do his job, stabbed us in the back, and walked away, probably with a sack full of money.
He has no standing to pontificate now…🤨 https://t.co/8iqCexlEHg
— Sambista (@Sambista99) March 12, 2019
Let’s face it, Paul Ryan and all the other Republican RINO’s didn’t want him to win in 2016 either!
— DeWayne (@DeWayne236) March 12, 2019
I hate Paul Ryan and am so glad he is gone. He’s really got a lot of nerve projecting a loss on Trump when he and his buddy Mitt Romney actually threw the election to Obama. Sickening. Trump is a rock star and he is going to wipe the floor with the Dems.
— Diana Hester (@diana_hester) March 12, 2019
During his Florida speech, Ryan said power now rests in the “entertainment wings” of each party, which aim at getting emotional responses from their supporters more than achieving legislation that advances party interests.
In spite of that environment, Ryan said, Congress did pass criminal justice reforms, repealed regulations and approved a major tax cut.
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