Romney defends Paul Ryan: 'The fault for our 2012 loss is mine alone'

Utah Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyOcasio-Cortez jabs 'plutocratic' late entrants to 2020 field Jon Huntsman expected to run for governor in Utah Trump Jr's 'Triggered' debuts at No. 1 on NY Times bestseller list MORE (R), who ran for president in 2012, defended his running mate Paul RyanPaul Davis Ryan Retirees should say 'no thanks' to Romney's Social Security plan California Governor Newsom and family dress as 2020 Democrats for Halloween DC's liaison to rock 'n' roll MORE after President TrumpDonald John TrumpButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California Kavanaugh hailed by conservative gathering in first public speech since confirmation MORE ripped Ryan as a "failed V.P. candidate" and also went after his record as House Speaker. 

Romney, a frequent Trump critic, lauded Ryan on Friday as a "tireless campaigner, fundraiser, and conservative champion."

"As the sole person who could unite the House, he acquiesced to be Speaker as a service to the country," Romney tweeted of the Wisconsin Republican. "His selfless leadership and lifelong policy work were critical to the tax and regulatory reform that have helped propel the economy."

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President Trump on Thursday blasted Ryan as having an "atrocious" record and tweeted that he "ultimately became a long running lame duck failure, leaving his Party in the lurch both as a fundraiser & leader."

"When Mitt chose Paul I told people that’s the end of that Presidential run," Trump added.

The president's tweets followed the release of excepts from an upcoming book by Politico's Tim Alberta. Ryan reportedly said in the book that he saw his retirement from Congress as an "escape hatch."

He also criticized the president in the book, which is set to be published on Tuesday. 

“Those of us around him really helped to stop him from making bad decisions. All the time,” Ryan reportedly told Alberta. “We helped him make much better decisions, which were contrary to kind of what his knee-jerk reaction was. Now I think he’s making some of these knee-jerk reactions.”