A Texas congressman had strong words for former House Speaker Paul Ryan after the Wisconsin Republican called Donald Trump “unfit” to be president.

What You Need To Know

  • Former House Speaker Paul Ryan told Fox News on Tuesday he believes Donald Trump is “unfit” to be president

  • In response, Rep. Troy Nehls, R-Texas, called Ryan "a piece of garbage" and said he should be kicked out of the Republican Party

  • Ryan told Fox News the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol contributed to his view of Trump, although he acknowledged he wrote in a different candidate on his 2020 ballot

“I think it really is just character at the end of the day,” Ryan told Fox News on Tuesday. “And the fact that if you're willing to put yourself above the Constitution, an oath you swear when you take office in federal office — whether it's president or a member of Congress, you swear an oath to the Constitution — and if you're willing to suborn it to yourself, I think that makes you unfit for office.”

Asked about Ryan’s comments, Rep. Troy Nehls, R-Texas, called Ryan “a piece of garbage.”

“We should kick you out of the party,” Nehls told CNN, directing his comments to Ryan. “For Paul Ryan to say he’s not voting for Donald Trump — that’s the problem with some of our Republicans. It’s guys like that. 

“Don’t go spouting your mouth off and saying you’re a conservative,” Nehls continued. “You’re spitting in the face of the leader of our party, Donald Trump. I mean, grow up a little bit.”

Ryan told Fox News the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol contributed to his view of Trump, although he acknowledged he wrote in a different name on his 2020 ballot. He plans to do the same this year but hasn’t decided yet on which Republican will get his vote. 

“I, like the majority of Americans, wish we had a different choice than the ones we're being presented with,” he said.

It was hardly the first time Ryan, who was speaker for the first half of Trump’s presidency, has publicly criticized Trump. 

After Ryan said last month he would not vote for Trump, the former president took to his Truth Social platform to call for Ryan to be fired from the Fox Corp.’s Board of Directors. 

“Rupert Murdoch should fire pathetic RINO [Republican in name only] Paul Ryan from the Board of Fox,” Trump wrote. “Ryan is a loser, always has been, and always will be. He was the WEAKEST & MOST INCOMPETENT Speaker of the House in its History. Fox will sink to the absolute bottom of the pack if Paul Ryan has anything to do with it!”

Asked about the comment Tuesday, Ryan laughed it off. 

“Look, I got death, taxes, and weird stuff from Donald Trump — these are the three certainties in my life,” he said.

Ryan said Trump has twisted the definition of “RINO.” 

“Fealty to Trump is what ‘RINO’ is, meaning if you don't pledge fealty to this man, then you are a RINO,” Ryan said. “It used to mean a liberal Republican versus a conservative. I'm a conservative Republican. He's a populist. He's not a conservative.”

Ryan said he wants to see the Republican Party return to being “based on principles, not personality or populism.”

The ex-speaker said he believes Trump got “railroaded” in his New York criminal case, which he called “bogus.” But Ryan said the federal cases against Trump in Washington and Florida are “much more serious and much more legitimate.”