Former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Monday that it’s clear President Joe Biden won the 2020 election — and that his predecessor Donald Trump’s electoral fraud claims are false — as Republicans in Ryan’s home state push for an unnecessary audit of the vote nearly 10 months later.
“It was not rigged. It was not stolen. Donald Trump lost the election. Joe Biden won the election. It’s really clear,” the former GOP leader said in an interview with WISN 12 News published Tuesday.
Ryan’s direct stance sets him apart from many in his party who continue to baselessly push Trump’s lies, often under the guise of pursuing election integrity, that the former president was a victim of widespread voter fraud.
The GOP-controlled state Assembly in Wisconsin gave the green light Monday for a conservative former state Supreme Court justice, Michael Gableman, to lead another investigation into the 2020 election. It’s expected to cost taxpayers at least $680,000 and will go ahead without any evidence to suggest there was widespread voter fraud.
Biden won by nearly 21,000 votes in Wisconsin, a margin that was confirmed in a recount last year.
“He exhausted his cases,” Ryan said when asked about Trump and the ongoing audits. “He exhausted the court challenges. None of them went his way, so he legitimately lost.”
“Is there mischief, organized shenanigans in elections? Sure. Is there fraud? Yes. Was it organized to the extent that it would have swung the Electoral College and the presidential election? Absolutely not,” Ryan added.
Ryan, an early critic of Trump prior to his 2016 election, retired from politics in January 2019, saying he wanted to spend more time with his children. Though he fell largely in line with Trump while they were both in power, there were reports of behind-the-scenes conflict. He’s been critical of the former president since leaving office.
He told WISN 12 News that Trump’s ongoing control over the GOP was damaging to the party.
“I think it’s a big mistake for the Republican Party to be a party about a person or personality,” he said. “And I think we’ll just keep losing if we wrap ourselves around one person. We have not lost this much this fast in a long, long time.”
He told the outlet he had no immediate plans to return to politics.