BY: AIF Staff
OREM, UT – Yesterday at Utah Valley University, former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan talked with students and the wider university community about fiscal policy, reducing polarization, and America’s short-term and long-term challenges. Appearing as a guest lecturer at the Gary Herbert Institute for Public Policy, Ryan also shared his thoughts on the “disgraceful” vote to remove former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and how Congress can move forward.
Video of Ryan’s lecture and his question and answer session with students is accessible here and a recap of his time in Orem, UT follows.
KSL: ‘Unserious politics’ hurting democracy and Trump is ‘a scourge,’ Paul Ryan tells Utah crowd
Polarization and “unserious” politicians are preventing the United States from confronting crises like the national debt, former House Speaker Paul Ryan told a crowd at Utah Valley University on Thursday.
His address came only days after former Speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted from the role Ryan once held, which he says points to the problems with politicians who are more interested in building personal brands than in governing.
“I think what happened in Congress the other day was a total disgrace,” he said. “Removing a speaker for simply doing his job — I think that was absolutely disgraceful, he didn’t deserve it…”
Ryan, a self-described “recovering politician,” spoke of the problems facing the country at the Gary R. Herbert Institute for Public Policy at Utah Valley University, alongside former Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, for whom the institute is named. He focused on two major threats against American democracy, one from within and one from without.
“I’d say at the root of this is the fact that we have this hyperpolarization that is alive and well and Americans are tearing each other apart,” he said of the current political climate.
“Right now we have fundamentally unserious politics,” he continued. “We do not have political leaders doing the right thing to get these things under control….”
Confronting totalitarianism abroad has always been a challenge, but Ryan said fixing polarization in domestic politics is something that individual voters can, and should, address. To put it simply, it’s a problem of supply and demand.
“You need to demand that your politicians supply you with solutions and policies and not just rhetoric,” he said….
Still, Ryan is optimistic that the biggest issues facing the party and the country can be solved.
“Our end is not in front of us — we just have to get our act together, reduce our political polarization, work on solutions, get more serious politicians in government and then we’re there,” he said.
Deseret News: Paul Ryan: Vote to remove McCarthy a ‘total disgrace’
Former House Speaker Paul Ryan said the historic vote to remove Kevin McCarthy from his role as speaker on Tuesday was “a total disgrace….”
Ryan said an “unprincipled demagogue” overthrew McCarthy for “just doing his job” — referring to Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., who coordinated the effort to remove McCarthy from his role, and who Ryan criticized by name later in his remarks…
“You’ve got these people who go to government to entertain, not to govern,” said Ryan. He said he had a recommendation for Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., who are the front-runners in the race to replace McCarthy — “They should not take this job unless they fix the motion to vacate.”
Ryan had harsh words for Trump, and his indirect role in the ousting of McCarthy.
“The kind of populism we have right now is not rooted in principle. It’s unprincipled populism, wrapped around the cult of a personality on Donald Trump. And this populism is gripping our party in very ugly ways,” he said. “And it’s manifesting itself in this ugly politics that we just saw displayed on the House floor two days ago. We have to get past this…”
In response to a question from a student on how to encourage less divisiveness in the country, Ryan said voters should send “more John Curtises and fewer Matt Gaetzes” to Congress….
“I don’t know if you all know this, but Trump and I don’t get along very well,” he said.
“I think he’s a scourge. I think he’s dangerous for our party and for the country. Look, I’m old school. I’m old fashioned. I believe political leaders should strive to be honest, ethical and moral people and should try to set a standard for the rest of the country. Donald Trump doesn’t do any of that. He frankly does the opposite of that. That’s one of the reasons why I think he’s unfit for office.”
Ryan also said the reason Republicans haven’t taken on entitlement reform or the nation’s debt in a serious way is because of populism related to the rise of Donald Trump, he said.
“In the Trump party, they’re not talking about debt reduction, they’re not talking about tackling these challenges. So I saw something missing in our party, which was a drive and a goal and a plan to get our debt under control,” he said, which led him to write a book with other American Enterprise Institute scholars on ways to tackle debt and entitlement reform, while addressing poverty at the same time.
He also blamed the “Trump factor” for the lack of support for Ukraine among Republicans. Calls to address the nation’s southern border before helping Ukraine were misguided, he said.
“I think … we can walk and chew gum at the same time. It’s not as if securing the border is mutually exclusive to helping Ukraine. That’s a bunch of bull,” he said.
Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson: Boyd Interviews Former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (Audio)
Former Speaker of the US House of Representatives Paul Ryan joins Boyd live from Utah Valley University. Ryan discusses why moral relativism is one of the biggest problems in society and the importance of our institutions. He also comments on the current state of things in the US House, reforming the rule that allowed Rep. Gaetz to remove Kevin McCarthy, and getting past performative politics.
Fox13: Ryan blasts ‘unserious politics,’ brands Trump a ‘scourge’ in remarks at Utah Valley University
“Our problems in America, that are these economic and fiscal problems, are completely solvable. They’re within our own means to solve,” he told a crowd of students. “The question is, can we get serious enough politics to do it? Right now, we have fundamentally unserious politics. We do not have political leaders doing the right thing to get these things under control so that you are guaranteed a legacy of having a better future for the next generation.”
During his appearance on Thursday, Ryan criticized the recent ouster of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and blamed it on a faction of Republicans. He reiterated it in an interview with FOX 13 News afterward.
“What happened in the House was a total disgrace. It was 4% of the Republican conference led by one unprincipled demagogue, shutting down the house and removing a speaker for frankly doing his job. So what do I say to voters? Don’t send us more Matt Gaetz. Send us more John Curtis,” he said, referring to Utah’s 3rd Congressional District representative.
“Send us legislators who are there to solve problems not to get hits and clicks and become famous. The problem we have is we have some entertainers in Congress, people who are not there to problem solve but to advance some critical brand or career and they brought Congress to a screeching halt….”