Former House Speaker Paul Ryan said Friday that former President Donald Trump will likely lose the Republican presidential primary race in 2024 and, failing that, the general election should he decide to run again.
“Whether he runs or not, I don’t really know if it matters,” Ryan stated. “He’s not going to be the nominee, I don’t think.” Ryan made the comments during an appearance with Kevin Kajiwara, CEO of Teneo, the public affairs consulting firm of which Ryan is vice chairman, at their office in Manhattan.
Ryan also accused Trump of using “fear and intimidation” to maintain political influence over the Republican Party, which he predicted would end poorly. “Whenever you try to do that, it ends the way Hemingway talked about bankruptcy,” he said, “it goes along for a while until it [steeply] drops.”
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Ryan said that most Republican candidates were “hurting their own ambition,” by refusing to criticize him. However, he said that Trump’s influence could wane when a critical mass of anti-Trump Republicans emerge, remarking that “as soon as you sort of get the herd mentality going, it’s unstoppable. … Trump’s unelectability will be palpable.”
He warned, however, that “having so many non-Trump people running” could split the vote in favor of Trump. When prompted by Kajiwara, he identified Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu and former Vice President Mike Pence as Republicans who could be serious candidates.
Trump has not publicly committed to running for president again, though he and his political allies have suggested that he will do so. In August, outlets reported that Trump was considering launching a presidential campaign after November’s midterm elections.
However, some Trump aides have rebuffed that notion. “There’s no urgency because he’s not going to be outshined by someone else,” said former Trump campaign aide Bryan Lanza to CNN.
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Trump currently polls at 58% support among registered Republican voters, compared to DeSantis’s 28%, according to an October poll by Big Village, which FiveThirtyEight gives a grade of ‘B.’ He has consistently led polls of prospective Republican candidates by double digits since 2021.
Ryan, who served as Speaker of the House from 2015 to 2019, overlapped with the first two years of Trump’s term. When he left office, he called Trump a “truly good man” but supported his second impeachment in 2021, leading Trump to call him a “pathetic loser.”