Ryan admonishes Trump for ‘riot’ remark
The House speaker also says a contested convention ‘could very well become a reality.’
By Jake Sherman
03/17/16 12:24 PM EDT
It’s becoming more and more clear: Donald Trump and Paul Ryan simply don’t see eye to eye.
Ryan on Thursday criticized Trump for saying that riots would erupt if the New York billionaire doesn’t become the party’s presidential nominee. At the same news conference, Ryan said it “could very well become a reality” that the 2016 GOP convention in Cleveland is contested.
If you’re keeping count at home, Ryan has now criticized Trump for his apparent hesitance in distancing himself from former David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard; said the candidate’s call to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States was wrong; and said Trump should do more to control violent outbursts at his political events.
On Thursday, Ryan put more space between Trump and himself.
“Nobody should say such things, in my opinion, because to even address or hint to violence is unacceptable,” Ryan said, when asked about Trump’s prediction of rioting if someone else becomes the nominee.
When asked about the possibility of a contested convention, Ryan said there is a “perception that this is more likely to become an open convention than we thought before.”
“So we’re getting our minds around the idea that this could very well become a reality, and therefore, those of us who are involved in the convention need to respect that,” Ryan said.
The speaker has been clear that he is unafraid to speak out against Trump when he believes the candidate is distorting conservative or American principles. It appears that Ryan believes Trump is doing that quite frequently.
“If anybody — not just Donald Trump — if anybody is out there representing the Republican Party in ways that we believe disfigure conservatism or do not portray what our views and principles are, I, as a party leader — and others, I assume, as well — have an obligation to defend our principles from being distorted. We’re going to continue doing that.
“Look. I am who I am,” he continued. “I’m a conservative who believes in specific principles and specific policies, and I’m going to speak out on those all the time.”
Ryan did say he did not believe that he would need to disown Trump as a candidate. He also said he, himself, will not be the candidate. Ryan said he asked former Speaker John Boehner to stop mentioning him as a potential nominee.