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Ryan Avoids Mentioning Trump During Madison Visit

House Speaker Makes No Mention Of GOP Nominee During Remarks, Q&A

Paul Ryan
Cliff Owen/AP Photo

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan made no mention of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during a public event Friday in Madison.

Ryan said earlier this week he would no longer defend or campaign with the GOP nominee, after last week’s leaked video showed Trump bragging about groping women. Trump has since hit back, taking to Twitter on Tuesday to call Ryan a “very weak and ineffective leader.”

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Speaking to a crowd of about 100 students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Republican student organization, Ryan focused on House Republicans’ legislative priorities and only alluded a few times to the presidential election.

“You know, I know many people are still making their choice,” Ryan said. “I know some people are avoiding making any choice at all – and I don’t begrudge anybody for that.”

Ryan took audience questions after his prepared remarks, presented by moderator Vicki McKenna, a conservative talk radio host. The questions focused almost exclusively on how students may appeal to others who may be undecided voters or inclined to vote for Democratic candidates.

“Don’t get into a personality contest, don’t talk about the latest Twitter storm from somebody,” Ryan said. “Talk about what you believe and why you believe it and why you think it’s important to keep our country’s core principles, stick to the Constitution and fight for these beliefs.”

The Speaker’s prepared remarks were titled, “The Failures of Liberal Progressivism.”

“Liberal progressivism needs no long introduction in Madison,” Ryan said, likening “liberal progressivism” to “the bad landlord who raises your rent but doesn’t fix the heat.”

Ryan frequently mentioned House Republicans’ legislative agenda and asserted the importance of Republicans retaining control of the U.S. Senate.

He also encouraged the audience to re-elect Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson over Democratic challenger Russ Feingold, and to vote for Republican Mike Gallagher, who is running against Democrat Tom Nelson in the 8th Congressional District.