Former House Speaker Paul Ryan “found himself sobbing” as he watched supporters of former President Donald Trump assault the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, according to a new book.
Mr. Ryan, who served in Congress for two decades and endorsed Donald Trump for president in 2016, told author Mark Leibovich that he spent his whole adult life in the Capitol and that “something snapped in him” as he followed coverage of the attack.
“I saw my friends, a lot of cops, some of my old security detail — I’m still friends with a bunch of those guys. It really disturbed me, foundationally,” Mr. Ryan told Mr. Leibovich, CNN reports in a story on the book, “Thank You For Your Servitude.”
Mr. Ryan served as the House speaker from 2015 to 2019 after establishing himself as a rising GOP star and policy guru. He cheered Mr. Trump’s win in 2016 and the ability to pass GOP measures, including a major tax overhaul in 2017, but he fell out with Mr. Trump and left Congress midway through Mr. Trump’s presidency.
The pair have sparred since then, with Mr. Ryan warning the GOP not to remain in Mr. Trump’s grasp while the ex-president says Mr. Ryan is not a fighter for Republicans and the MAGA agenda.
The new book says Mr. Ryan did not think Mr. Trump’s unproven claims about the 2020 election would lead to violence.
“Ryan figured the president would bitch and moan and maybe make a big show of ‘fighting’ for his supporters for a while. Everyone could feel good and be victimized. But eventually, Trump would just leave; hopefully, he would know to do this on his own. And everyone could then just get on with their lives,” Mr. Leibovich wrote.
CNN reported that Mr. Leibovich alludes to Mr. Ryan’s role on the board of the Fox Corporation and the times he did not stand up to Mr. Trump. He wrote that Ryan was “not inclined to grapple with questions of complicity” in the Jan. 6 assault.
“I was absolutely horrified,” Mr. Ryan said of the attack.