Former US House speaker Paul Ryan tells Republicans to reject Trump
Ryan will not go after former president by name, but context is clear
Former US House speaker Paul Ryan, joining the debate on the Republican Party’s future, is urging conservatives to reject former president Donald Trump and “second-rate imitations".
The comments were in a speech on Thursday night at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.
By far most Republicans in Washington and beyond are loyal to Mr Trump, even while he continues to make false claims about his election defeat last year.
Mr Ryan, among the most respected Republicans in Washington before Mr Trump’s rise, has been largely silent since he left Congress two years ago.
In his address, Mr Ryan did not mention Mr Trump by name but the context was clear.
“We conservatives find ourselves at a crossroads,” Mr Ryan said in his remarks.
“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.”
The Wisconsin Republican was the opening speaker for the library’s “Time for Choosing” series, which will later feature 2024 Republican presidential prospects such as former vice president Mike Pence, former UN ambassador Nikki Haley and former secretary of state Mike Pompeo.
Those close to Mr Ryan do not expect him to run for public office again, but they say he is concerned about the future of the party.
He is on the boards of the library and of Fox Corp, which owns Fox News.
In his speech, Mr Ryan described President Joe Biden’s agenda as “more leftist than any president in my lifetime” and he encouraged Republicans to rally around conservative principles.
He is also took aim at the party's tendency to engage in culture wars.
Some Republicans, for example, spent weeks praising Dr Seuss after publication of some of the popular children’s author’s bookswas stopped because of racist images.
“We conservatives have to be careful not to get caught up in every little cultural battle,” Mr Ryan said.
“Culture matters, yes, but our party must be defined by more than a tussle over the latest grievance or perceived slight.
"We must not let them take priority over solutions, grounded in principle, to improve people’s lives.”
Updated: May 28, 2021 12:40 PM