Paul Ryan gave a speech to almost 200 congressional interns Wednesday in which he admitted "it's easy to get disheartened" when you look "at what's taking place in politics today." However, he urged his audience not to accept or "enable" a loss of faith in government, Politico reports. "Instead of talking about what politics is today, I want to talk about what politics can be. I want to talk about what our country can be," said Ryan—who, Politico notes, will serve as chairman of the Republican National Convention this summer, meaning he "could play an important role" if there's a brokered convention. During his speech, Ryan decried the "identity politics" on display in the GOP presidential primary, but he did not call out anyone by name.
"Ryan treated [Donald] Trump like Voldemort," the Atlantic notes, adding that these days, "just use the words 'insults' and 'ugliness,' 'enemies' and 'traitors'" and people will know you're referring to "you know who." But, though Ryan has denounced some of Trump's actions in the past, he's also "refused to repudiate Trump’s candidacy should he emerge as the Republican nominee," the Washington Post reports, calling it a "difficult balancing act" for the House Speaker. The Atlantic agrees, noting that Ryan sees it "as his responsibility as chairman of the Republican National Convention to remain neutral in the party’s primary process." But Democrats say Ryan must denounce Trump outright: "Speaker Ryan's words will ring hollow until he backs them up with action and withdraws his support from Donald Trump," a spokesperson for Harry Reid says, per the AP.