Paul Ryan: If Trump is GOP presidential nominee, 'we are going to lose'

Former Speaker Paul Ryan is warning Republicans they’ll lose if they nominate Donald Trump for president. In a new interview with FOX6, Ryan also defended his call for changes to Medicare and Social Security.

Ryan was in Milwaukee Thursday, Feb. 23 to speak at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and to talk about the new book he edited, "American Renewal."

Ryan told FOX6 that he voted for Jennifer Dorow in the Wisconsin Supreme Court primary, but he said people should now get behind Daniel Kelly.

He also talked about the first Republican presidential debate coming to Milwaukee in August.

FOX6's Jason Calvi: "The first GOP presidential debate’s going to be in Milwaukee this year. On that stage could be former President Trump and others. Who do you back in 2024?"

"That would be the person not named Donald Trump, so I don't really have a dog in the fight," said Ryan. "Other than that, if we nominate Trump again, we're going to lose. It's just that clear. We lost with him in ‘18, ’20 and '22. We know this. He will cost us another election, so I'm just excited about somebody not named Trump. There are great people running. I know them all. They're all pretty decent friends of mine, and so I think any one of these candidates that are thinking about getting in the race, if they get in the race, would be a great candidate. I think we're going to beat Joe Biden if we don't run Donald Trump."

FOX6's Jason Calvi: "What does it say that the GOP is picking Milwaukee for the first debate, as well as the convention?"

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"It shows how important Wisconsin is," said Ryan. "Four states are going to determine the next president, in my opinion, Arizona, Nevada, Wisconsin and Georgia. Those are the key, critical states in the Electoral College these days, and so we are one of the most important states in the country for choosing the next president, and that is why our convention is here."

FOX6's Jason Calvi: "In 2024, there's a Senate race in Wisconsin. Will your name be on the ballot?"

"No, no, I'm done," said Ryan. "I did 10 terms in Congress. I am done running for Congress. I'm not going to do that again."

Ryan also defended some of the arguments laid out in a new book he edited. "American Renewal" lays out a conservative vision for the future, including changes for Medicare and Social Security.

FOX6's Jason Calvi: "You're going to get a lot of people worried about – you're taking away their entitlements."

"Welcome to the story of my life and career in Congress," responded Ryan. "Every one of these proposals says don't make changes to people who are in or near retirement presently. But, you need to make changes for those of us in the younger generation for two reasons: So that we don't go bankrupt as a country, and these programs exist for them; but also, so you can cash flow the current promises to current seniors. 

"The dangerous rhetoric that we're seeing right now in Washington by both Presidents Biden and Trump is this demagoguery saying don't touch these programs. With that, the other way of saying that is: ‘Let them go bankrupt and watch current seniors get hurt.’ Remember, within a decade, both Medicare and Social Security go insolvent."

"So, that's why we're saying let's get ahead of this problem. Let's reform these programs so that they work better so that they're solvent, so that we can keep the promises that have already been made to current seniors," Ryan added. "The problem is that took me three or four sentences. It wasn't as easy as demagogueing entitlement reform, which is what our current and former president are doing. It's reckless. It's the opposite of leadership. And my point is, we need to step ahead of this problem as a country, guarantee these benefits for current seniors and reform these programs, so they don't go bankrupt."

Paul Ryan is a board member of FOX6's parent company, FOX Corp. 

UPDATE: Since this story was published, former President Donald Trump responded to the FOX6 interview with Ryan. On Truth Social, Trump shared an article that quoted Ryan’s words found in this article.

Trump commented in his post, "Paul Ryan is a loser, Mitt Romney could have won without him. I won twice, did much better the second time, and was 233 Wins out of 253 Races in the Midterms." Trump continued by saying Ryan "couldn’t get elected dogcatcher in the Republican Party."