Paul Ryan assessment of Trump: "Populist, authoritarian narcissist'

 December 15, 2023

The Republican who was speaker of the House and is now a member of the board of directors at Fox Corporation, Paul Ryan, has described Donald Trump as a "populist, authoritarian narcissist."

Paul Ryan, known formerly as a potential vice president candidate, said the former president was "not a conservative" in a recent virtual interview that was uncovered and released on X (previously Twitter) on Wednesday by the Republican Accountability group. The session was held by CEO advice firm Teneo.

Trump’s tendencies “are basically where narcissism takes him, which is whatever makes him popular, makes him feel good at any given moment,” Ryan said.

“He doesn’t think in classical ‘liberal-conservative’ terms. He thinks in an authoritarian way. And he’s been able to get a big chunk of the Republican base to follow him because he’s the culture warrior.”

Ryan's Rule

Ryan previously served in Congress as a Wisconsin Republican, before taking a back seat to politics several years ago.

The former lawmaker spoke about his former colleague in whom former Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) had “paid for” their criticism of Trump with their congressional careers.

He said that more Republicans in the House of Representatives now regret not standing up to Trump during his second impeachment for allegedly inciting a riot in the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021.

The impeachment of Trump was approved by a vote of 232 to 197 in the House. Although they were shy of the necessary 67 votes to actually convict Trump, the Senate voted 57 to 43 in his favor.

They thought “Trump was dead,” Ryan said. “They thought after Jan. 6, he wasn’t going to have a comeback, he was dead. So they figured, ‘I’m not going to take this heat, I’m not going to vote against this impeachment, because he’s gone anyway.’ But what’s happened is he’s been resurrected.”

There are “a lot of people who already regret not getting him out of the way when they could have,” Ryan added.

“So I think history will be kind to those people who saw what was happening and called it out, even though it was at the expense of their personal well-being.”

Despite Ryan's earlier criticism of Trump, he ultimately joined forces with the president as speaker of the House to enact substantial tax cuts.

Ryan Resignation

He resigned from Congress in 2019 to take a directorship at Fox Corp., where he has come under fire for seemingly not wanting to condemn the harsh rhetoric promoted by Fox News.

According to Ryan's statement from last year, Republicans would be better off with "anybody not named Trump" as their presidential candidate in 2024.

“We know we’re so much more likely to lose with Trump, because of the fact that he is not popular with suburban voters that we’re gonna want to win,” Ryan told Fox Business’ Stuart Varney. “We lost the House, the Senate, the White House in the space of two years. I don’t want to repeat that. I want to win.”

“The only reason [Trump] stays where he is is because everybody’s afraid of him,” Ryan said in another interview. “They’re afraid of him going after them, hurting their own ambition. But as soon as you sort of get the herd mentality going, it’s unstoppable.”

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