Ryan was not shy about acknowledging the GOP’s divided state in his conversation with TheBlaze, but stressed the solution would be born out of policy — not personality.
Asked, for instance, whether he thought former President Bill Clinton’s personal history was “fair game” in the 2016 election, as Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has said, the speaker responded that he doesn’t “even think of that stuff.”
“All I care about is making this an ideas contest,” he said.
In fact, Ryan explained that he was “consumed” with thinking about how to present policy proposals to the public, aimed at tackling issues ranging from the economy and national security.
“All those other personal things I could care less about,” he said. “To me, if we make this a personality contest, we lose. If we make it an ideas contest, we win. That’s just the way I see it.”
Pressed as to whether a largely angry Republican base is more interested in personality than policy, Ryan gave a blunt response.
“Anger is not a plan. Anger is not a principle. Anger is not enough,” he said. “I think as leaders it is our obligation to challenge this energy into a constructive use so we can get a mandate to fix the country’s big problems.”
“So yes, policies do not sell as well. They don’t get as much clicks and they don’t get as much news,” he acknowledged. “That shouldn’t deter us. That should just motivate us to work harder. To have a serious and sober conversation with our citizens.”