House Speaker Paul Ryan has weighed in on the debate about the tone of the GOP campaign for the second time in two weeks. Ryan did not mention Donald Trump by name this but it was clear that was who he had in mind.
Ryan made the comments on WRJN, a Wisconsin radio station, Monday morning (hat tip Politico). “You turn on the TV just this last weekend and you see these images coming from these rallies, which is obviously very concerning,” Ryan said.
“I guess I’d make two points about these…this violence in these rallies. First, there’s obviously an effort by some in the left to shut down these rallies and to stir unrest. We should never condone that. We have a long history of peaceful protest, but creating this kind of drama isn’t good for anybody and it’s unacceptable. At the same time I think the candidates–I think the candidates need to take responsibility for the environment at their events. There’s never an excuse for condoning violence or even a culture that presupposes it.
“We just need to reject, not only violence in very clear terms, but I think you’re right about the tone of the campaign. Look, people are angry. People have looked at the last seven years and they are understandably very anxious, very frustrated and hurting. But the solution isn’t to call names. It isn’t to stoke anger for political gain. The solution, I think, is to channel that passion into solutions.”
Asked if he was concerned things could get crazy in the spring, Ryan replied, “Well, again, I think the candidates have an obligation to do everything they possibly can to prevent this from happening and to tamp down any temptation to get this out of control….”
This is the second time Ryan has weighed in on the issue of the tone of the campaign. On March 1st he gave a press conference during which he was critical of Trump’s apparent hesitation to condemn David Duke and the KKK during a CNN interview.
“As you know, I try to stay out of the ups and downs of the primary, but I’ve also said when I see something that runs counter to who we are as a party and a country, I will speak up. So today I want to be very clear about something. If a person wants to be the nominee of the Republican party, there can be no evasion and no games. They must reject any group or cause that is built on bigotry.
“This party does not prey on people’s prejudices. We appeal to their highest ideals. This is the party of Lincoln. We believe all people are created equal in the eyes of God and our government. This is fundamental and if someone wants to be our nominee they must understand this. I hope this is the last time I need to speak out on this race.”
For his part, Trump had nice things to say about Speaker Ryan after a phone call between the two men last week. “We get along well. I like him a lot. I respect him a lot,” Trump told CNN.