Paul Ryan spoke for 12 minutes in his RNC speech. He mentioned Donald Trump exactly once.

Paul Ryan promoted the Republican Party at the RNC
(Image credit: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

House Speaker Paul Ryan has a complicated relationship with his party's presidential nominee, Donald Trump, and that was clear in his speech at Tuesday's Republican National Convention. Mere hours after the GOP officially nominated Trump, Ryan took aim at Hillary Clinton, President Obama, and the Democratic Party, but mentioned Trump just once, saying that "only with Donald Trump and Mike Pence do we have a chance at a better way." The bulk of his speech was about his own vision for the Republican Party, and his call to action was electing "a conservative governing majority."

"What do you say that we unify this party?" Ryan said, to his first big applause of the night. "Whatever we lack going into this campaign, we should not lack for motivation.... It is all on the line," he said. "Let's show America our best and nothing else."

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In the rest of his speech, Ryan contrasted the Republicans as a party that champions freedom and the Democrats as the party of big government, lofty words, and "a record of discarded promises." "Progressives deliver everything but progress," he said. "Yet we know better than most that Republicans can't win just on the failures of Democrats." Republicans, on the other hand, are "the great, enduring alternative party," and it wins the war of ideas against Democrats. It was a good speech, just not one that has much to do with the Republican Party's 2016 candidate.

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.