Former Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday he thought he had “too much power” when he waved the gavel.
“I think I have too much power as a speaker,” Ryan told CNN’s Jack Tapper on “The Lead,” adding that what bothers him “most” is the omnibus bill — a massive spending plan Measures that are voted on individually rather than individually by individual appropriations.
“The problem is, there aren’t four people who should be doing all of these, making these decisions,” Ryan added, referring to the House leadership at the time. “I’m making a decision on the composition of the spending bill.”
House Republicans approved a package of rules for the 118th Congress on Monday, marking the first test of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s ability to navigate his slim Republican majority. In it, McCarthy made some concessions to gain support from conservative diehards, including lowering the threshold needed to trigger a vote to remove the speaker.
Still, Ryan warned that some lawmakers may want to take advantage of the concession, recalling advice given to him by former House Speaker John Boehner when he won the House speakership in 2015.
“One last thing John Boehner — the last words John Boehner said to me as he walked out of the smoky office I inherited — don’t forget your first priority is Preserve institutions, defend institutions,” Ryan said.
“I’ve never really thought that the majority of members don’t think about this body,” he added.
In weighing the state of the GOP, Ryan joined a chorus Thursday of those calling for the resignation of Republican freshman Rep. George Santos after he admitted to lying on parts of his resume. Santos has so far been defiant, refusing to call for his resignation, nor has the House Republican leadership asked him to do so.
“This is a fraudulent candidate — this is not a glorified candidate, this is a fraudulent candidate. He cheated his constituents, so of course he should go,” Ryan told Tapper.
Asked about his relationship with former President Donald Trump and his recently announced presidential bid, Ryan doubted whether Trump could win the White House again in 2024.
“He’s fading fast. He’s a proven loser,” Ryan said. “He lost us the House in ’18. He lost us the White House in 20. He lost us the Senate over and over again, and I think we all know that, and I think we’re moving past Trump.”
“I can’t imagine him getting [Republican] Nominated, frankly,” he added.
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