Former Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHow Kevin McCarthy sold his soul to Donald Trump On The Trail: Retirements offer window into House Democratic mood Stopping the next insurrection MORE (R-Wis.) left open the possibility of a Democrat defeating President TrumpDonald TrumpCheney challenger wins Wyoming Republican activists' straw poll We must do more to protect American Jews 6 in 10 say they would back someone other than Biden in 2024: Fox News poll MORE in the 2020 election on Monday during a lecture in Florida.
During an address in Vero Beach reported by TCPalm.com, Ryan told attendees that Trump would be unable to win the election based on his personality alone.
“The person who defines that race is going to win the race. If this is about Donald Trump and his personality, he isn’t going to win it,” Ryan said, according to the local news outlet.
Trump, he reportedly continued, needs to define the 2020 race through policy proposals if he wants to defeat Democrats in next year's election.
Ryan left the House in January after seeing Republicans lose control of the lower chamber during last November's midterm elections. He did not run for reelection, capping just more than three years as the House's most powerful member.
He often clashed publicly with the president while in the House over issues such as immigration and the United States' relationship with Russia, leading to tension between the two men behind the scenes.
In January, it was reported that Trump chided Ryan after the congressman broke with the White House over condemning white supremacy in the days after the Charlottesville, Va., riots in 2017.
“Why do you think [then-Minority Leader] Nancy [Pelosi (D-Calif.)] has held on this long?" Trump reportedly asked at the time. "Have you seen her? She’s a disaster. Every time she opens her mouth another Republican gets elected. But they stick with her. ... Why can’t you be loyal to your president, Paul?”
Trump at the time also blamed Ryan for not getting funding for the president's long-promised border wall.
"Well, I was going to veto the omnibus bill and Paul told me in the strongest of language, 'Please don't do that, we'll get you the wall.' And I said, 'I hope you mean that, because I don't like this bill,' " Trump told The Daily Caller.
"Paul told me in the strongest of terms that, 'Please sign this and if you sign this we will get you that wall.' Which is desperately needed by our country. Humanitarian crisis, trafficking, drugs, you know, everything — people, criminals, gangs, so, you know, we need the wall," the president said.
"And then he went lame-duck."