Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has had a very rocky relationship with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, and he addressed that schism head on in a speech to the Republican National Convention on Tuesday evening.
“Democracy is a series of choices,” he said. “We Republicans have made our choice. Have we had our arguments this year? Sure we have. You know what I call those arguments? Signs of life.”
Other than that, though, and saying that he’d be onstage with Trump and vice presidential nominee Mike Pence at the next State of the Union, Ryan mostly ignored talking about his party’s nominee. Instead, he focused on presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, saying that in a time when many voters have indicated a desire to reject establishment politics, the Democrats “are offering a third Obama term brought to you by another Clinton, and you’re supposed to be excited about that.”
When Ryan stopped talking about Clinton, it wasn’t to praise Trump, but to discuss the Republican Party at large.
“The Republican Party stands as the great enduring alternative party,” he said. “We offer a better way for America, with reforms that actually work.”
Ryan has emerged as a vanguard for more traditional Republican values in the face of Trump’s candidacy. He tried to play to that perception on Tuesday, while at least giving lip service to Trump.