WASHINGTON — Paul D. Ryan, the former Republican speaker of the House, re-entered the political enviornment on Thursday evening with a speech obliquely criticizing Donald J. Trump and warning Republicans that the solely viable future for the fractured occasion was one unattached to the former president.
“Here’s one reality we have to face,” Mr. Ryan stated throughout a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. “If the conservative cause depends on the populist appeal of one personality, or on second-rate imitations, then we’re not going anywhere.”
Mr. Ryan stated he had discovered it “horrifying to see a presidency come to such a dishonorable and disgraceful end,” though he didn’t particularly confer with the assault on the Capitol on Jan. 6 or to Mr. Trump’s repeated election falsehoods.
He added that Republican voters would “not be impressed by the sight of yes-men and flatterers flocking to Mar-a-Lago.”
The former speaker tempered his criticism by avoiding any point out of Mr. Trump by identify — besides to say that the former president’s model of populism, when “tethered to conservative principles,” had led to financial progress, and to credit score him with bringing new voters to the occasion.
A senior adviser for Mr. Trump, Jason Miller, responded to early excerpts from the speech with a terse brushoff: “Who is Paul Ryan?” he stated in a textual content message.
Mr. Ryan, the 2012 Republican vice-presidential nominee, left behind his 20-year career in Congress in 2019. In his function as speaker, he kowtowed to Mr. Trump at first, and later edged away from him, publicly breaking with the former president solely after leaving workplace.
Since then, he has taken on roles as a visiting professor at the University of Notre Dame; a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, the conservative suppose tank; and a board member of the Fox Corporation.
Mr. Ryan’s political re-emergence, and his comparatively mild warning of the risks of a celebration crafted in Mr. Trump’s picture, got here as the former president has stated he plans to return to the marketing campaign path this summer time with rallies for Republican House and Senate candidates supportive of his agenda and his election falsehoods. Mr. Trump can be nonetheless hinting at a potential presidential run in 2024.
Mr. Ryan delivered his message at the same time as Republicans nonetheless in workplace have ostracized lawmakers who criticize Mr. Trump. Most not too long ago, the occasion removed Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming from her management put up in Congress as a result of she refused to drop her repudiations of Mr. Trump and Republicans who abetted his election falsehoods.
“We win majorities by directing our loyalty and respect to voters, and by staying faithful to the conservative principles that unite us,” Mr. Ryan stated.
Eager to indicate off his conservative bona fides, Mr. Ryan additionally criticized President Biden and his agenda.
“In 2020, the country wanted a nice guy who would move to the center and depolarize our politics,” he stated. “Instead, we got a nice guy pursuing an agenda more leftist than any president in my lifetime.”
Mr. Ryan’s speech was not the first time he had expressed worries about Mr. Trump since leaving workplace. Weeks after returning to Wisconsin, his residence state, the former speaker unloaded on a president he had been cautious by no means to criticize whereas nonetheless in workplace.
“Don’t call a woman a ‘horse face,’” he told the journalist Tim Alberta, referring to one of the many insults Mr. Trump had lobbed. “Don’t cheat on your wife. Don’t cheat on anything. Be a good person. Set a good example. And prop up other institutions that do the same. You know?”