In an oddly “presidential” speech today, House Speaker Paul Ryan denounced Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and the “ugliness” of the Republican primary race. Paul Ryan has denied that he would accept a presidential nomination at a contested convention, and he’s stated that he would support Donald Trump if — and only if — he won the Republican nomination. But after remarks today, some commentators are speculating if Paul Ryan’s attempt to bring an end to the infighting could be a sign of his own plans for the future.
“If someone has a bad idea, we tell them why our idea is better. We don’t insult them into agreeing with us, we try to persuade them. We test their assumptions. And while we’re at it, we test our own assumptions too,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan today, speaking to an assembly of about a hundred Capitol Hill interns.
— CarCzarConsulting (@TheCarCzarsPage) March 23, 2016
Paul Ryan’s “State of American Politics” speech was hastily cobbled together, announced, planned and executed with only about one day’s notice, but by most accounts it was a decent speech – and it was remarkably even-handed, reports the Atlantic. In particular, Ryan took aim at the very personal feud currently ongoing between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump – the two men are arguing over their wives. Specifically, over a series of ads that a Ted Cruz-allied SuperPAC ran in socially conservative Utah which showed off early modeling photos of Trump’s wife, Melania Trump, in a state of undress. The Inquisitr reported previously that Ryan’s speech today could have been a presidential announcement — unfortunately for Paul Ryan supporters, the speech wasn’t quite an announcement, but it may have been “presidential” in tone.
“This has always been a tough business and when passions flare, ugliness is sometimes inevitable. But we shouldn’t accept ugliness as the norm,” House Speaker Paul Ryan urged a more diplomatic tone during his speech today.
According to Esquire, Ryan has had his eye on the nomination for a while now. Speaking at AIPAC earlier this week, he addressed some powerful delegates and lobbyists with another speech which illustrated his foreign policy chops — which could signal that he’s at least thinking about the nomination. And for some in the Republican party, a Paul Ryan presidential nomination could be the only thing standing between the Donald Trump and what many republican commentators fear will be a defeat in the general election.
In his speech today, Paul Ryan retracted only the easy half of "makers/takers." Not the harder half: https://t.co/piMVisPIVw
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) March 23, 2016
“Instead of playing to your anxieties, we can appeal to your aspirations. Instead of playing the identity politics of ‘our base’ and ‘their base’ we unite people around ideas and principles, and instead of being timid, we go bold,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan today, in his aspirational speech to Capitol Hill interns.
The Washington Post has a different perspective, that Paul Ryan’s speech today, which by their account was “all about” Donald Trump, could be some subtle political maneuvering. Maybe Paul Ryan isn’t looking at being president in 2016, he’s looking at 2020, speculates the Washington Post.
“Personalities come and go, but principles? Principles endure. I’ve made it my mission as speaker to raise our gaze and aim for a brighter horizon,” said Speaker Paul Ryan today.
Paul Ryan might not have to stop Trump at a contested convention — as he’s said before that he doesn’t want to do — he might simply wait, the Post speculates, until a potential Donald Trump loss in November. At that point, maybe Paul Ryan will have distanced himself from the chaotic Republican primary that he’ll be seen as a reasonable alternative. In any case, the speech Paul Ryan gave today was certainly a change in tone for the Republican primary, and even though he didn’t criticize Cruz or Trump by name, he certainly criticized their tactics and the “ugliness” they’ve brought to this year’s campaign season.
“It did not used to be this bad, and it does not have to be this way,” Paul Ryan said today.
[Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images]