Former Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said at a South Carolina political appearance that “quite a bit” of Republicans wanted to question President Donald Trump but that they “didn’t have the center.”
The previous Wisconsin congressman made the remarks at a gathering Wednesday in Florence, where he praised Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.), whom he has endorsed, for having the courage to vote for impeachment after the Jan. 6, 2021, riot. Rice and nine other Republicans joined with Democrats to vote for impeachment, making Trump the primary president in U.S. history to be impeached twice, although the Senate didn’t convict him either time.
Rice is now locked in a heated battle for reelection for a sixth term against state Rep. Russell Fry, who’s backed by Trump. The previous president is decided to punish any Republican who failed to point out loyalty to him.
“There have been loads of people who desired to vote like Tom but who just didn’t have the center to do it,” said Ryan, The Myrtle Beach Sun News reported.
“There are loads of individuals who say they’re going to vote their conscious, they’re going to vote for the Structure, they’re going to vote for his or her convictions, but when it gets hard to do this, they don’t do it,” he said.
“Tom Rice is a person of conviction,” Ryan added.
Rice has argued that Republicans must follow Trump’s policy ideas but abandon the person. He called his House reelection bid a battle between “nerds” like himself and Ryan, who aim to enact conservative policy, and “flamethrowers” who put allegiance to Trump over all else, The Sun reported.
Ryan last week on CNBC criticized “entertainer” lawmakers — from each parties — who strive to develop a noticeable “brand” slightly than work with colleagues to pass laws.
“In the event you are going to entertain, in case you are going to try to point out that you just’re higher than everyone else inside your individual ecosystem,” it makes it tougher to compromise and forge policy, Ryan said. It “divides us,” he added.
Ryan, who was speaker of the House from 2015 to 2019, removed himself from the political scrum after 20 years in office and opted to not run for reelection in 2018, following uncomfortable confrontations with then-President Trump.
Ryan initially endorsed Trump within the 2016 presidential campaign but then withdrew his support a month before the election after the “Access Hollywood” tape emerged during which Trump was heard boasting about how he could “grab” women “by the pussy.” Trump then blasted Ryan as disloyal and accused him of deliberately undermining his campaign.