Paul Ryan is set to warn the GOP to move away from the 'populist appeal of one personality'

Paul Ryan.
(Image credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Former House Speaker Paul Ryan is expected to use a Thursday night speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California to tell his fellow Republicans to stop focusing solely on the "populist appeal of one personality" and avoid getting "caught up in every little cultural battle."

Per excerpts of his remarks obtained by CNN, Ryan, the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee who retired from Congress in 2018, will say that conservatives are at "a crossroads. And here's one reality we have to face: If the conservative cause depends on the populist appeal of one personality, or on second-rate imitations, then we're not going anywhere. Voters looking for Republican leaders want to see independence and mettle."

Although that is a reference to former President Donald Trump, the only time Ryan specifically names Trump in his speech is when he applauds the "incredibly powerful and inclusive economic growth in 2020," crediting it to "the populism of President Trump in action, tethered to conservative principles."

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Ryan is also set to accuse the left of being so "woke" that it is making Americans "weary. It's exhausting. And we conservatives have to be careful not to get caught up in every little cultural battle. Sometimes these skirmishes are just creations of outrage peddlers, detached from reality and not worth anybody's time. They draw attention away from the far more important case we must make to the American people."

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.