Paul Ryan blames former president for GOP midterm losses

Topline

Former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) blamed Republicans’ underperformance in the midterm elections directly at the feet of former President Donald Trump, calling himself ‘never more Trumper’ in a new interview that adds to the growing chorus of prominent Republicans accusing the former president of negatively influencing the election.

Highlights

The “biggest factor” in the GOP’s disappointing midterm results was “the Trump factor,” Ryan told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl in an interview that aired Sunday on This week, adding “I think we would have clearly won the Senate had we had mainstream Republicans in the general election.”

The party would have won more races if its candidates had been “typical traditional conservative Republicans” rather than “Trump Republicans,” Ryan said, pointing to back-to-back Senate contests the GOP has lost in Arizona, where incumbent Senator Mark Kelly (D) beat Trump-endorsed Blake Masters (R) and Pennsylvania, where Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) beat Mehmet Oz, (R) backed Trump to overthrow the Democrats’ seat.

Ryan noted the string of Republican losses in recent years that Trump has been involved in: The GOP lost majority control of the House of Representatives in 2018, lost the Senate and the presidential election in 2020 “and now, in 2022, we should and could have won the Senate. . . and we have a much smaller majority in the House.

Ryan predicted Republicans would lose the 2024 presidential election if Trump wins the party’s nomination and said he was confident voters would choose another candidate.

Key context

Trump, who has announced his intention to run for president for a third time in 2024, faced backlash from the powerful in the GOP in the weeks following the midterm elections following the failure of its chosen candidates to win races. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), both Trump critics, have also linked the GOP’s midterm losses to Trump, while his other Republican allies, including the leader House GOP Rep. Kevin McCarthy (D-Calif.) and Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), haven’t said whether they’ll back him for president in 2024. GOP megadonors who previously lined up on Trump, including Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman and Citadel hedge fund founder Ken Griffin have said they won’t. financially support his campaign. Ryan, who clashed with Trump while the two were in office together, has previously expressed his displeasure with Trump’s comeback offer, telling Fox Business in October that he doesn’t think Trump will land the nomination. of the GOP in 2024.

Tangent

Ryan said McCarthy, who was nominated last week to become the next House speaker, will struggle to pass legislation with such a “very thin majority” in the House, where Republicans won all 218 seats for lead the lower house, but will likely only have a single-digit advantage once the remaining six races are called. “No matter what bill you’re going to introduce, it’s almost impossible with such a tight majority for only your party to pass legislation,” Ryan said, adding that the narrow majority would also unify the party.

Further reading

Another billionaire megadonor quits Trump after 2024 launch – as party heavyweights move away from ex-president (Forbes)

Chris Christie applauded for Trump Digs – Here are the other GOP leaders who walked away from Trump after midterm losses (Forbes)

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