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Ryan blasts 'unserious politics,' brands Trump a 'scourge' in remarks at Utah Valley University

Posted at 3:19 PM, Oct 05, 2023

OREM, Utah — Former U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan blasted members of his own political party during an appearance at Utah Valley University, telling voters not to reward politicians who merely seek "hits and clicks."

He said the polarization and inability to compromise or engage in dialogue is preventing the nation from confronting some big issues, like a looming debt crisis.

"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."

Ryan called on the Republican conference to fix a rule that allowed the speaker to be ousted "so the next Speaker doesn’t have this gun to their head so that a few hostage takers can take them down."

"The Speaker has to negotiate and to compromise with the Senate and the White House to get things done. That’s what Kevin McCarthy was doing. It’s a tragedy these handful of rebels brought Congress to a screeching halt," he added.

Ryan was the Republican vice-presidential nominee on the ticket with Mitt Romney in 2012. They ultimately lost to Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Now declaring himself a "recovering politician," Ryan weighed in on the 2024 presidential race and criticized former President Donald Trump.

"I think he’s a scourge, he’s dangerous for our party," he told a luncheon after his speech.

When Herbert asked what qualities and characteristics voters should look for in the next president, Ryan replied: "Someone who’s able and fit to do the job" to laughter from some in the crowd.

"And I mean that both physically and you know... and someone who’s not indicted," he said. "Look, I'm for a non-Trump Republican. Any of them."

In addition to his emphasis on solving debt problems, Ryan also reiterated the importance of dealing with China and offered his support for Ukraine.