‘Never-again Trumper’ Paul Ryan says indictment would help former president

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Paul Ryan. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

‘Never-again Trumper’ Paul Ryan says indictment would help former president

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Former House Speaker Paul Ryan said an indictment would help Donald Trump’s 2024 bid and that he is rooting for anyone but the former president this time around.

Ryan, speaking Tuesday at Finseca’s annual Advanced Markets conference, was asked about Trump’s possible indictment from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. Reports indicate that Trump may be arrested this week over an alleged $130,000 hush money payment wired to porn star Stormy Daniels right before the 2016 elections.

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“You know, I wouldn’t have had the relationship with the porn star in the first place,” Ryan said, drawing laughter from the crowd.

But Ryan, who said he still is not on speaking terms with the former president, added that he fears an indictment could bolster Trump politically.

“It does seem a little petty and ridiculous the DA is doing this. It looks very vengeful and political, and I don’t think you could do anything to help Donald Trump more than this DA doing what he’s doing,” Ryan said, referring to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

Ryan, who was the GOP vice presidential nominee in 2012, also asserted that he is a “never-again Trumper.” He said he opposes Trump because he wants the Republican Party to win.

“Since 2016 when he got elected, we’ve lost seven governorships, 22 House seats, three Senate seats, and the White House. So as a Republican, I want to win. I don’t want to keep losing. And we know that we keep losing with him,” Ryan said, adding that it’s key that the party nominate someone else during the coming presidential election.

During the Tuesday appearance just outside Washington, D.C., Ryan also discussed the 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, his biggest legislative achievement from the time he served as speaker of the House.

Without Congress acting, nearly two dozen tax provisions that were part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act are set to sunset after 2025, affecting households and small businesses. Republicans have made extending portions of the tax law a top priority, although doing so will likely not happen in the near term, as Democrats control both the Senate and the White House.

Ryan appeared hopeful that as long as Republicans can hang on to power, those programs could be extended or made permanent.

“I believe … as long as we keep the House or even get the Senate or have a Republican president, we’re going to be able to extend these things,” Ryan said.

Looking ahead, Ryan said control over Congress once again comes down to who is leading the Republican ticket.

“If it’s Trump, we’re screwed, I think. If it’s not, I think we’re going to do really well,” the former speaker said.

Regarding whom he would want to see at the top of the ticket, Ryan said anyone who is not named Trump. He mentioned some possible contenders: Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, and Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA).

Entitlement reform was discussed during the 45-minute appearance.

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When asked about protecting the programs, Ryan said when he was chairman of the House Budget Committee, the House passed four budgets that reformed U.S. entitlement programs and the tax code, paid off the debt, and balanced the budget. He said Republicans didn’t shy away from touching those programs and still were reelected.

“So, I would argue the politics of ignoring this problem are worse politics than addressing this problem. The problem right now is we have such unserious politics. And we have two presidents, the current and the former, demagoguing this issue. Both Trump and Biden are playing reckless partisan politics with this issue,” he said.

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