House Speaks Paul Ryan greets US President Donald Trump as he arrives on stage to speak at the National Republican Congressional Committee March Dinner at the National Building Museum on March 20, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images
Former President Donald Trump will not be the Republican Party’s White House nominee in the 2024 election, former GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan predicted.
“Trump’s unelectability will be palpable by then,” Ryan said in an interview with consulting firm Teneo that aired Thursday. Ryan is vice chairman of the firm.
“We all know that he’s much more likely to lose the White House than anybody else running for president on our side of the aisle, so why would we want to go with that?” the former lawmaker from Wisconsin said.
“Whether he runs or not, I don’t really know if it matters,” Ryan added. “He’s not going to be the nominee, I don’t think.”
Ryan, who was now-Utah Sen. Mitt Romney’s presidential running mate in 2012 and succeeded John Boehner as House Speaker in 2015, has worked in the private sector since leaving Congress in 2018.
Ryan had a tumultuous relationship with Trump before and after his one term in the White House.
As a presidential candidate in 2016, Trump bombarded Ryan with insults, labeling him weak and disloyal. Ryan had refused to continue campaigning for Trump late in the election, following the release of an Access Hollywood recording from 2005 in which Trump is heard bragging about groping women.
Since leaving elected office, Ryan has urged the GOP to ditch Trump, who remains the de facto leader of the party and the likeliest candidate to clinch the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.
Trump has openly floated the possibility of launching another White House bid, though he has yet to make an official announcement. Trump lost to President Joe Biden in 2020, but never conceded the race and continues to falsely claim the election was rigged against him.
Trump’s conspiracy claims before and after that election spurred thousands of supporters to swarm the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, when a joint session of Congress had convened to confirm Biden’s victory. Ryan said he “found himself sobbing” as he watched the Capitol riot unfold, according to a recent book.
In his interview with Teneo, Ryan said the only reason Trump is still in power is because “everybody’s afraid of him.”
“He’s going to try to intimidate people out of the race as long as he can,” Ryan said.
That fear of Trump will cause other GOP presidential contenders to delay their decisions to run, waiting for “somebody else to take the first plunge,” Ryan predicted. After Trump attacks that first person, “they can follow in behind,” Ryan said, likening the situation to a “prisoner’s dilemma.”
But that ultimately won’t stop would-be candidates from throwing their hats in the ring, he said.
“The one inexhaustible power in politics is ambition, you can count on that. There’s a handful of people who are going to run because it’s really the only cycle they can run, and they can’t wait until 2028,” Ryan said.
“They’ve got to go now if they’re ever going to go, and they don’t want to die not ever trying,” he added.
“As soon as you get sort of the herd mentality going, it’s unstoppable. So I think the fact that he pulls so much poorer than anybody else running for president as a Republican against a Democrat is enough right there,” Ryan said. “He’s gonna know this, and so whether he runs or not, I don’t really know if it matters, he’s not going to be the nominee, I don’t think.”