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Paul Ryan says he won't vote for Donald Trump: 'Character is too important'

Story by Lawrence Andrea, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

May 8, 2024

WASHINGTON – Former House Speaker Paul Ryan this week doubled down on his claim that he will not vote for former President Donald Trump this November, reasserting his opposition to the former president just two months before he's set to accept the Republican nomination in Milwaukee.

"Not from me," Ryan told Yahoo Finance Tuesday when asked if he'd vote for Trump in November. "Character is too important to me, and it's a job that requires the kind of character he just doesn't have."

Ryan said he'd write-in another Republican's name, as he said he did in 2020.

His comments reaffirm those he made to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, part of the USA TODAY Network, last year, when he said he would not support Trump if he became the Republican nominee for president. Ryan at the time said he did not think Trump would become the nominee "because everyone knows we’ll lose the election if we nominate this guy again.”

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).© Getty Images

Now, however, Trump has effectively secured the Republican nomination and is set to meet President Joe Biden in a rematch of the 2020 election. His doubling down comes as other Republicans who once rejected Trump's candidacy, including Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, have reversed course and endorsed the former president.

Ryan in recent years has been an outspoken critic of Trump. In an interview with the Journal Sentinel last year, he blamed Trump for Republicans' underwhelming midterm results in 2022 that gave them the slim majority in the House that has proven difficult to manage.

“We can have a prosperous country and a debt-free future. We can reinvent upward mobility and reinvent the American idea for the 21st century if we get the right policies in place,” Ryan told the Journal Sentinel at the time. “And I don't think we'll accomplish that if we stick with a personality based populism that has proven now for three election cycles to lose us elections.”

In his remarks Tuesday, made at the the 2024 Milken Institute Global Conference, Ryan said he disagrees with Biden on policy and would rather write-in another Republican's name. "I don't know who yet," he said.

In Wisconsin, Biden and Trump are locked neck-and-neck. A Marquette University Law Poll released last month showed Trump leading Biden 51%-49% among both registered voters and likely voters. And both candidates have visited Wisconsin in recent weeks.

Trump rallied supporters in Waukesha last week on a off-day from his New York hush money trial. Biden, meanwhile, is scheduled to be in Racine Wednesday to highlight the expansion of a Microsoft data center.

Vice President Kamala Harris plans to visit Milwaukee next week.

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