Paul Ryan 'Wanted to Be Wallpaper' During SOTU
He thought Trump attacks 'degraded' the presidency
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2016 2:54 AM CST
President Obama shakes hands with Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin before the State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Pool)
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(Newser) – President Obama's final State of the Union address was Paul Ryan's first in the House speaker's seat—and he did not enjoy the experience. He tells USA Today that while sitting behind the president, he "disagreed with much of what he had to say," but he wanted to "be respectful," so "just kind of poker-faced the whole thing" because he "basically wanted to be wallpaper." Some of Obama's remarks were clearly aimed at Donald Trump, and Ryan says it "sort of degrades the presidency to then talk about primary politics in the other party, during primaries. That's not what presidents ought to be talking about in State of the Union addresses."

Ryan says he thinks Obama "glossed over" failures on the economy and foreign policy, although he agrees that Trump's plan to ban Muslims from entering the US is un-American. "Putting a religious test on anybody coming to this country is wrong," he tells USA Today. "We ought to have a security test, not a religious test. That's who we are." Ryan successfully kept up his poker face throughout the address, and his failure to change expression was lampooned on Twitter, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes. "Obama could reveal Colonel Sanders' secret recipe right now and Paul Ryan still wouldn't clap," tweeted Spencer Althouse from BuzzFeed. (Obama's speech included a "curveball" to help the unemployed.)
 

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