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Paul Ryan Called Out Hard After Claiming He Was 'Sobbing' While Watching Jan. 6 Riot On TV

Paul Ryan Called Out Hard After Claiming He Was 'Sobbing' While Watching Jan. 6 Riot On TV
Yichuan Cao/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Former Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan—one of the more prominent GOP leaders of the last decade—was harshly criticized after claiming he was "sobbing" while watching live news coverage of former Republican President Donald Trump's supporters attack the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Ryan—speaking of the day a mob of Trump's supporters lead by White nationalists and White supremacists attacked the nation's seat of government on the false premise the 2020 general election had been stolen—said “something snapped” in him as he watched the violent insurrection unfold on his televison screen.

The violent insurrection left at least five people dead, over 100 injuries to law enforcement and millions of dollars in damages.

Ryan made the remarks in an interview with journalist Mark Leibovich, whose new book Thank You for Your Servitude: Donald Trump's Washington and the Price of Submission chronicles in detail how Trump transformed a "onetime party of rugged individualists into a sycophantic personality cult."

Leibovich wrote Ryan "figured the President would bitch and moan and maybe make a big show of ‘fighting’ for his supporters for a while" but "eventually Trump would just leave... And everyone could then just get on with their lives.”

Any hope of that was shattered on January 6. Ryan said watching the attack unfold in the building "I spent my whole adult life in" had "really disturbed me, foundationally.”

However, others were quick to remind Ryan he bears at least some of the responsibility for Trump's ascendancy.

While Ryan was often critical of Trump, he regularly partnered with him on Republican legislative priorities—particularly a much derided overhaul of the tax code that drastically cut taxes for the wealthy—and publicly endorsed him in both 2016 and 2020.

Ryan's relationship with Trump caused him to fall out of favor among Democrats and Republicans alike and the once promising GOP star, who was named as the party's vice presidential nominee in 2012, quit Congress in 2019. Since then, he has maintained a relatively low profile and currently sits on the board of the Fox Corporation, receiving an annual salary of roughly $350,000.

Ryan was swiftly criticized.

Whispers about Ryan's potential retirement from Congress circulated around Washington for months before his official departure in 2019.

He was once floated as a possible candidate for 2020, but The Associated Press later confirmed that he would not run after all, putting an end to considerable speculation.