Recently Former House Speaker Paul Ryan stated that President Trump’s reelection probabilities could be in jeopardy. He also stated, if he relies on his personality rather than focusing on policy he could be in danger in the 2020 election.
Speaking at a lecture in Vero Beach, Fla., in some of his first public comments since leaving Congress two months ago, Ryan bemoaned the political polarization that was a defining characteristic of his tenure as speaker, blaming the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus for derailing attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and blaming technology for deepening the political divide.
Ryan focused heavily on policy in his speech, Treasure Coast Newspapers reported, and urged the president to do the same during his reelection campaign. He told the audience that he believes there are some Democrats who could unseat Trump in 2020 and pushed him to define himself through his policy platform.
“The person who defines that race is going to win the race. If this is about Donald Trump and his personality, he isn’t going to win it,” Ryan said.
The former speaker did not address the thinly veiled criticisms Trump has lobbed at him since Ryan left office in January, especially over Ryan’s failure to secure funding for the president’s proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border before Republicans lost the House.
Ryan did say that he hopes Congress addresses immigration issues like increased funding for border security. But he also called for reforms for several visa programs and expressed hope for a solution for dreamers, migrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
The former speaker cited Republicans’ drawn-out repeal and replace efforts in 2017 as one of the biggest mistakes of his tenure, arguing that the negotiation process for a replacement for the Affordable Care Act took too long and that delays led by the Freedom Caucus “eroded public support for it” so that by the time it arrived in the Senate, where it was defeated, “it was hanging on a thread.”
But he also argued that he had many policy successes during his three-year tenure, saying he felt achievements like the GOP tax bill, bipartisan criminal justice reform, opioid response legislation and deregulatory action had been overlooked.
He would have been able to accomplish more, he said, if not for the Senate’s filibuster rules for major legislation, which the former speaker said prevented him pursuing entitlement reforms.