You know the “Never Trumpers,” a rump group of Republicans who have been vocal against former President Donald Trump, and what they’ve done to the GOP.
Meet the “Never-Again Trumpers” now.
Former House Speaker Paul Ryan described himself in an interview with ABC News that aired over the weekend. Here’s what he said:
“I am proud of the achievements [during the Trump administration] – tax reform, deregulation and criminal justice reform – I’m really excited about the judges we’ve brought to the bench, not just on the Supreme Court but across the judiciary. But I’m a Never Again Trumper. Why? Because I want to win and we will lose with Trump. It was really clear to us in ’18, in ’20 and now in 2022.
Ryan, who left Congress in 2019, has been more outspoken about his feelings about Trump and the future of the Republican Party.
Paul Ryan slams ‘terrible’ end to Trump’s presidency (May, 2021)
In late October, he told Fox Business Network that “the new swing voters in American politics are suburban voters, and it’s really clear that suburban voters don’t like Trump, but they like Republicans.” And he added: “So I think if somebody doesn’t name Trump, I think we have a better chance of winning the White House.”
(Note: Trump won suburban voters over Hillary Clinton in 2016 and narrowly lost to Joe Biden in 2020, according to national exit polls. In the 2022 midterm elections, Republicans won suburban voters 52%-46%.)
And at an event in June for South Carolina GOP Rep. Tom Rice, who voted to impeach Trump in 2021, Ryan sharply criticized nonvoters within the GOP. “There are a lot of people who say they’re going to vote their conscience, they’re going to vote the Constitution, they’re going to vote their beliefs but they don’t when it’s hard to do that. It is,” he said at the time. (Rice lost the Republican primary in her district to a Trump-backed challenger.)
Trump, as he does, has attacked Ryan before. “As a Republican, having Paul Ryan on your side almost guarantees a loss, a loss for both you, the party and America,” Trump said in a statement last year after Ryan gave a speech suggesting the party should move on from the past. President.
Attacks aside, Ryan’s position on Trump is interesting. It gives former presidents credit for what they accomplished in office while implying that they are neither the present nor the future of the GOP.
I think 2024 is where some of the most serious challenges to Trump will land. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, for example, would do well to echo Ryan’s view — giving Trump credit for what he’s done as president, making it clear that his political appeal has shrunk to the point where Republicans would be wrong to nominate him again. .
I often wonder why Ryan doesn’t draw more attention to the core of his position as a “Never-Again Trumper”: Trump’s win-loss record.
Trump famously bragged, “We’re going to start winning again, and we’re going to win a lot,” but the truth is that since the 2016 election, he’s become more closely identified with losing. During Trump’s time in office, Republicans lost control of the House and Senate. Republicans regained the House majority in 2022, but their victory was less than expected. And while Democrats managed to hang on to their narrow Senate majority, several Trump-backed candidates fell short in key races.
That lack of winning seems to be an obvious weak spot for Trump as he looks to rally support for his third presidential bid. And DeSantis already seems to be moving to capitalize on that. After his reelection victory this month, DeSantis said of his critics: “I tell people to check the scoreboard from last Tuesday night.”
Maybe DeSantis is also part of the “Never Again Trump” movement?