Tweeted Ryan: “To be clear, GOP wins elections when they’re about ideas not when they’re personality contests like Dems and media want. We’re clearly better off because of Donald Trump. His record of accomplishment is why he’ll win re-election especially when compared to Dems’ leftward lurch.”
Jonathan Bernstein: “Paul Ryan gave a farewell speech to the House of Representatives on Wednesday. He won’t be missed. Ryan was badly cast as speaker of the House from the start, and failed to ever really grow into the job. But that wasn’t the worst of it.”
“One problem for Ryan was honesty. For me, the core example was his convention speech in 2012 as a vice-presidential candidate. That Ryan acted as an attack dog and exaggerated some facts was no big deal. But what was unusually dishonest was a particular attack on President Barack Obama: ‘He created a bipartisan debt commission,’ Ryan said. ‘They came back with an urgent report. He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing.'”
“This was extraordinary. Ryan himself was not only on that bipartisan commission, he was the one who torpedoed the ‘urgent report,’ which never reached the president because of Ryan’s own actions. It’s one thing to push the boundaries of the truth or to engage in clever spin, but Ryan’s attack was pure fantasy that transferred his own actions to his opponent.”
First Read: “House Speaker Paul Ryan, who delivers his farewell address today at 1:00 pm ET, always had big ideas. He called for the government to respond to the growing deficit/debt; he advocated for a fundamental restructuring of Medicare and entitlements; he pushed for tax reform; and he demanded an improvement in the nation’s political discourse.”
“But those ideas — except for tax reform — never really matched up to reality and party politics. The debt and deficit he saw a ‘crisis’ to reduce? Well, it’s gone up in the Trump years when Ryan was speaker and the GOP controlled government. Major entitlement reform? Hasn’t happened. Improving political discourse? Hello, President Trump.”
“Ryan’s defenders say it’s difficult to continue to tackle the deficit/debt when the other players — especially the White House — aren’t interested.”
Speaker Paul Ryan “is using his final weeks in Congress to leave a lasting image of a brainy conservative warrior for lower taxes, free markets and a more muscular America abroad — in public appearances, a taxpayer-funded online video series and a farewell address set for Wednesday,” the Washington Post reports.
“But after two decades in the House and three years as speaker, the Wisconsin Republican’s long-term legacy is already a matter of fierce debate, including within his own party.”
“Weeks after House Republicans lost their majority, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) on Thursday cast serious doubts about the “bizarre” election system in California, where it appears that seven GOP-held seats will flip to Democratic control,” The Hill reports.
Ryan said the California election system “just defies logic to me.”
He added: “We were only down 26 seats the night of the election and three weeks later, we lost basically every California race. This election system they have — I can’t begin to understand what ‘ballot harvesting’ is.”
President Trump slammed Speaker Paul Ryan on Twitter for rejecting his call to end birthright citizenship.
Said Trump: “Paul Ryan should be focusing on holding the majority rather than giving his opinions on birthright citizenship, something he knows nothing about! Our new Republican majority will work on this, closing the immigration loopholes and securing our border!”
Playbook: “The rich irony of this is that Ryan has been on the road non-stop for the last two years — as have Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise. Don’t cry for them — it’s their job! — but to say that any of them aren’t worried about the majority would be nonsense.”
Speaker Paul Ryan told Face the Nation that President Trump’s campaign rallies “sometimes” cause division and that “sometimes he doesn’t practice” unifying politics.
Said Ryan: “I worry about tribal identity politics becoming the new norm of how politics is waged.”
Speaker Paul Ryan said President Trump has told him he will sign a spending bill to avert a government shutdown, the Washington Post reports.
Said Ryan: “I’m confident he will sign it. … This funds our military, this funds opioids, this does a lot of the things that we all want to accomplish together and we’ve had very good conversations with the president.”
“It boomerangs. He goes in the other direction, so that’s not effective. The pissing match doesn’t work.”
— Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), quoted by the New York Times, on why he’s not publicly critical of President Trump.
New York Times: “Ryan announced in April that he would not be seeking re-election, ending a 20-year run in Congress that, for most of it, seemed to be on a straight-up trajectory. Ryan’s official reason for leaving was that his ‘family clock was ticking’ and he no longer wanted to be a ‘weekend dad.’ But it’s easy to suspect otherwise, and not just because that is a clichéd excuse.”
“Ambitious 48-year-old politicians at the peak of their powers don’t suddenly just decide to quit because they’ve discovered that their teenage children are growing up fast back in Wisconsin. Ryan should, by rights, be riding out of town at the pinnacle of his starlit Washington career. Yet he remains a distinctly awkward match to a moment — and president — that seem certain to define much of his legacy.”
Speaker Paul Ryan “was surprised and proud to find out he has Jewish roots,” the AP reports.
“The Wisconsin Republican discovered his family history while filming a segment for the upcoming season of the PBS series ‘Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr.’”
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said that he does not have any plans to run for president in the coming years, the Weekly Standard reports.
Said Ryan: “I’ve thought about it, and I’ve decided not to do it. I like myself too much. You never say never to things like that, but I’ve had plenty of opportunities to think about it, to look at it, and I’ve always chosen not to do it.”
He added: “I really, really do not have it in my mind, and for sure not while my kids are at home. And they’re home for the next five years. I’ll be a has-been by then.”
Speaker Paul Ryan surprised Capitol Hill by delaying a vote on a “compromise“ immigration package until next week, as GOP leaders search for a way to get 218 votes to pass the measure, Politico reports.
“Ryan told lawmakers that leadership may add an E-Verify mandate — an online system that allows employers to confirm the eligibility of employees to work in the United States — as well as other provisions called for by rural state lawmakers to the package.”
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) sided with Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) who had said that the FBI did nothing wrong by using a confidential informant to contact members of President Trump’s campaign as it investigated its ties to Russia, the New York Times reports.
And he warned that Mr. Trump should not try to pardon himself: “I think obviously the answer is he shouldn’t. And no one is above the law.”
Speaker Paul Ryan “is losing his grip on the feuding House Republican conference just months before pivotal midterm elections, caught between dueling factions vying for power inside the party and facing scattered calls for his departure ahead of a planned year-end retirement,” the Washington Post reports.
“But there is no clear way out for the party. Numerous aides and lawmakers said Tuesday there is not a viable alternative to Ryan who can win enough support within the GOP for a clean transition before November — and there is little stomach at the moment for the messy battle that would ensue when Ryan departs.”
Speaker Paul Ryan defended himself “amid reports of threats to his leadership position and reiterated his view that it’s not in Republicans best interest to have a divisive leadership race before the November midterm elections,” Roll Call reports.
Said Ryan: “Obviously I serve at the pleasure of the members; those are the people who drafted me in this job the first place. But I think we all agree the best thing for us is to complete our agenda and not wedge into the completion of our agenda divisive leadership elections.”
Playbook: “More than two years after running for speaker for the first time, Ryan is still reminding people he was drafted into the speakership. He’s making clear that he isn’t clinging to power — this job wasn’t even his first choice. But what would happen if he were to leave right now? Chaos, most likely, in the middle of an election year.”
“Top House Republicans are privately questioning whether retiring Speaker Paul Ryan can make it through Election Day. No one’s plotting to take him out at this point, and Ryan insists he’s not going anywhere. But rank-and-file Republicans, including moderates who’ve been unflinchingly loyal to Ryan during his three-year tenure, have become increasingly willing to defy the lame-duck leader. And White House officials have also discussed whether Ryan should remain in the job, administration sources said, though there is no effort by the Trump White House to push out Ryan.”
“The doubts have been fueled by a series of high-profile embarrassments for the Wisconsin Republican. The most recent was the collapse of the Republican farm bill on the House floor Friday. But centrist Republicans have also backed Ryan into a corner on immigration, the most contentious issue facing the party. And this week, those moderates are expected to reach the 218-vote threshold needed to force bipartisan votes to protect Dreamers — despite Ryan’s effort to stop them.”
White House budget director Mick Mulvaney “strongly endorsed the idea that House speaker Paul Ryan should step down in order to trigger an election that would force House Democrats to vote for unpopular Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi,” the Weekly Standard reports.
Said Mulvaney: “I’ve talked with Kevin about this privately but not as much publicly. Wouldn’t it be great to force a Democrat running in a tight race to have to put up or shut up about voting for Nancy Pelosi eight weeks before an election? That’s a really, really good vote for us to force if we can figure out how to do it.”