Former House Speaker Paul Ryan urged the Republican Party to drop former President Donald Trump and his divisive style of politics in a speech on Thursday night.
Though Ryan did not mention Trump by name, he gave a thinly veiled criticism of the former commander-in-chief, saying it was “horrifying” to see his presidency come to a “dishonorable and disgraceful end,” alluding to Trump’s 2020 election loss, refusal to concede, and role in the Capitol insurrection on January 6.
“2020 left Republicans powerless in Washington,” Ryan said Thursday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California. “Once again, we conservatives find ourselves at a crossroads. And 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.”
Ryan also jabbed at elected Republicans who have continued to stick by the former president since he left the White House.
Voters “will not be impressed by the sight of yes-men and flatterers flocking to Mar-a-Lago,” Ryan said, referring to Trump’s resort in West Palm Beach, Florida. Several GOP officials have visited Trump at his club over the past few months, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, to muster up support and discuss strategy going into the 2022 midterm elections.
Ryan becomes the latest high-profile conservative to join the anti-Trump camp. But the Wisconsin Republican, who’s been out of office for two years, appears to be out of step with the majority of his party.