Ryan's comments, recorded in November but recently gaining attention, have sparked criticism from both sides of the political aisle.
Ryan, who hails from Wisconsin and served as House Speaker from 2015 to 2019, is currently a board member of Fox Corp, the parent company of Fox News. When asked about the historical judgment of Cheney and Kinzinger, Ryan stated, "Trump's not a conservative. He's an authoritarian narcissist. So I think they basically called him out for that."
"He's a populist, authoritarian narcissist. ... All of his tendencies are basically where narcissism takes him, which is whatever makes him popular, makes him feel good at any given moment," the former House Speaker proclaimed. "He doesn't think in classical liberal-conservative terms. He thinks in an authoritarian way. And he's been able to get a big chunk of the Republican base to follow him because he's the culture warrior."
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Ryan further expressed his belief that many members of Congress underestimated Trump's ability to make a political comeback, leading them to avoid voting for his impeachment.
The former House Speaker believes that history will be kind to those who recognized the dangers of Trump's actions and spoke out against him, even if it came at a personal cost.
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Trump, who was impeached twice during his presidency, including for his involvement in the January 6 attack on the Capitol, continues to hold significant influence within the Republican Party. Despite facing multiple criminal charges, including attempted election subversion and various civil threats, his popularity remains strong, dominating polling for the next Republican presidential nomination.
According to Real Clear Politics, Trump is averaging at around 60.3 percent with likely Republican voters, while in a distant second place, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sits 47.7 points behind at 12.6 percent. Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is in third place at 12.6 percent and business mogul Vivek Ramaswamy currently holds fourth place at 4.9 percent.