House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), famously reticent to throw his support behind Donald Trump, urged support for the new nominee at the Republican National Convention today in the name of party unity.
“What do you say that we unify this party? What do you say that we unify this party at this crucial moment when unity is everything?” Ryan asked the crowd.
The 2012 vice presidential nominee noted that the convention podium had a “familiar feel.”
“It was a great honor. It was a great honor, even if things didn’t work out quite according to the plan,” Ryan said. “Hey, I’m a positive guy. I’ve found some other things to keep me busy.”
“And I like to look at it this way. The next time that there’s a State of the Union address, I don’t know where Joe Biden or Barack Obama are going to be, but you’ll find me right there on the rostrum with Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump.”
Ryan added that “democracy is a series of choices.”
“We Republicans have made our choice. Have we had our arguments this year? Sure, we have. You know what I call those? Signs of life, signs of a party that’s not just going through the motions, not just mouthing new words for the same, old stuff,” he said.
Ryan didn’t extol the virtues of Trump, but stressed the threat of a Clinton administration.
“For a country so ready for change, it feels like we’ve been cleared for takeoff and then somebody announced we’re all going back to the gate. It’s like we’ve been on hold forever, waiting and waiting to finally talk to a real person, and somehow we’ve been sent back to the main menu,” he said. “Watch the Democratic Party convention next week, that four-day infomercial of politically correct moralizing, and let it be a reminder of all that is at stake in this election.”
“You can get through four days of it with a little help from the mute button, but four more years of it? Not a chance. Not a chance.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who stood with his home-state delegation when they cast their votes during the roll call, received some boos when he addressed the convention.
“I’m here to tell you Hillary Clinton will say anything, do anything, and be anything to get elected president, and we can not allow it,” McConnell said. “…I’ve had my differences with Barack Obama, but I’ll give him credit for this. At least he was upfront about his plans to move America to the far left. To the far left.”
“Not Hillary. She lied about her emails. She lied about her server. She lied about Benghazi. She even lied about sniper fire. Why, even she lied about why her parents named her Hillary.”
McConnell was rewarded with cheers when he stated that “not since Baghdad Bob has there been a public figure with such a tortured relationship with the truth.”
“With Donald Trump in the White House Senate Republicans will build on the work we’ve done and pass more bills into law than any Senate in years,” he vowed. “We’ve already passed the first major education reform in more than a decade, and ended Common Core. We made the first significant reforms to Social Security in three decades. We passed a crucial cybersecurity bill, we imposed sanctions on North Korea, we passed the first major highway bill in more than a decade, we passed a bill to combat the scourge of human trafficking, and just last week we passed the first major law aimed at confronting the heart breaking explosion of heroin and opioid abuse.”
Freshman GOP senators appeared onstage in a unity display during the evening, except for no-show Sens. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), a vocal Trump opponent, Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), an early supporter of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), whose state suffered the ambush of Baton Rouge police officers over the weekend.