House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) says he is “a Jack Kemp-Ronald Reagan Republican.”
“We all have different styles and different forms. This is the style that we have,” he explained in an interview on CBS this morning.
So what does that make Donald Trump?
“Donald Trump is a Donald Trump Republican,” Ryan replied.
How does that differ from a Reagan or Kemp Republican? “We’ll find out,” the House speaker said.
Ryan said that “right now the puck is in a primary, on both sides… Democrats fighting Democrats, Republicans fighting Republicans.”
“In the fall, we’re skating to where the puck is going to be. Remember what Wayne Gretzky said? If you want to win, you’ve got to skate to where the puck is going to be? We believe the country deserves a clear and compelling choice,” he said.
“And we have an obligation to offer them that choice, which is, how do we fix these big problems of the day? How do you restore a confident America? What does that agenda look like?”
Ryan acknowledged that he’s set the agenda for congressional races apart from the presidential candidates’ agendas.
“I learned in 2012 running with Mitt Romney, if you wait until after the Convention to all of the sudden get your act together and then produce an agenda in say, August or September, it’s too late. So my lesson from 2012 is, we know who we are, we know what we believe. And we have a good idea of the kind of solutions that are necessary,” he said.
“So let’s get on that right now. Offer it early. Spend all summer and all fall talking about it. So come November 2016, everybody knows they have two choices to make as Americans. And we feel, as the alternative party — not just the opposition party. The alternative party — that we have an obligation to say, if you don’t like this direction, here’s an alternative. And we don’t think we can do that if we wait until later in the summer.”
Of the tone of the presidential campaign, Ryan opined that “we need to start offering solutions and say here’s what it takes to get our country back on track to a confident America.”
“And look, as you know, I’m the chairman of the convention. So, I am neutral on this thing. So, I don’t comment on a day-to-day who’s doing what in the presidential campaign. What I care is that we offer people a choice,” he said. “Because if we win this election after offering an agenda, then we have the mandate, we have the obligation to put those reforms in place. We want to earn the support of the country to put these big reforms in place that we think are necessary to get the country back on track.”
Ryan said he’s spoken to Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich about pushing forward with the downballot agenda “and they say that they’re fine.”
“They understand why we’re doing this, what we’re doing and they’re comfortable with the direction we’re headed,” he said. “We’re not worrying about something that is out of our control, who becomes the nominee. We’re worrying about, are we taking our principles, applying them to problems, so we can offer people real solutions?”