[Ed. – I’m not sure why the GOP would want to be the party of the 61 million popular vote (Romney-Ryan 2012) rather than the 74 million popular vote (Trump-Pence 2020). People don’t blame Reagan for the performance of the GOP 30-plus years later, but they do blame guys like Ryan.]
After years of lying low and only rarely publicly challenging Trump, Ryan, in an evening speech at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, described conservatives as at “a crossroads.”
“And here’s the reality that we have to face: If the conservative cause depends on the populist appeal of one personality, or on second-rate imitations, then we’re not going anywhere,” Ryan said. “Voters looking for Republican leaders want to see independence and mettle.”
“They will not be impressed by the sight of ‘yes men’ and flatterers flocking to Mar-a-Lago,” Ryan said, referring to Trump’s Florida residence, but throughout the speech he avoided criticizing Trump by name.
The speech gives Ryan, who has had a cool relationship with Trump before and after he quit Congress in 2019, a higher-profile part in the small but increasingly vocal anti-Trump wing of the GOP.