WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Paul Ryan, under siege from fellow Republicans for his unwillingness to help Donald Trump win, is accusing liberals and Democrat Hillary Clinton of favoring a government-heavy agenda for elites.
“The left does not just seek a continuation of the last eight years,” the Wisconsin Republican says in remarks he plans to deliver Friday. “They do not just seek to further the liberal progressive experiment. They intend to make it into a reality — an arrogant, condescending and paternalistic reality.”
Ryan has been relatively mum since he privately told House Republicans on Monday that he wouldn’t campaign or be seen with Trump and would devote the four weeks to Election Day focused on maintaining his party’s congressional majority. While Ryan still supports Trump’s presidential bid, the schism between the senior most elected GOP official and the White House candidate was nearly unprecedented.
Ryan issued a statement last week criticizing Trump after a 2005 audio in which the reality TV star businessman spoke in crude, predatory terms about groping women, and the lawmaker disinvited Trump to an annual fall festival in Wisconsin last Saturday. Ryan’s effectively abandoning Trump prompted criticism from some Republicans who indicated they might not back him as speaker.
Trump, in a series of tweets and speeches, has assailed Ryan, suggesting some sinister plot and calling the speaker ineffective.
Ryan’s prepared remarks — slated to be delivered to college Republicans in Wisconsin — marked his first significant public comments about the election since the break with Trump. On Thursday, he skipped a question-and-answer session with business leaders at an event in his home state and avoided reporters.
“Beneath all the ugliness lies a long-running debate between two governing philosophies: one that is in keeping with our nation’s founding principles — like freedom and equality — and another that seeks to replace them,” he says in the prepared remarks. “And so I would like to invite you to reflect on this choice we are facing.”
He argues that liberalism embodied by Clinton is “government for the elites.”
“You see, when Hillary Clinton says we are `stronger together,’ what she means is we are stronger if we are all subject to the state,” Ryan said. “What she means is we are stronger if we give up our ties of responsibility to one another and hand all of that over to government. But there is no strength in that. Only hubris. Only the arrogance to assume we are better off if we fall in line and bow down to our betters.”
He pressed for the GOP agenda that he rolled out last summer that focuses on such issues as cutting regulations, overhauling the tax code and replacing President Barack Obama’s health care law.
On Friday, Ryan said he raised around $15 million in July through September this year in campaign funds for House Republicans.
His Democratic counterpart, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, said she raised about $35 million for her party’s House candidates during those same three months.
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