Mitt Romney Defends Paul Ryan Amid Trump Attacks: 2012 Election Loss Was My Fault

On Thursday, the president blamed the former House speaker for Romney's electoral defeat seven years ago.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Friday defended former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), his running mate in the 2012 presidential election, following a slew of criticism from President Donald Trump.

“The fault for our 2012 loss is mine alone,” Romney tweeted, praising Ryan as a “conservative champion” and “the sole person who could unite the House.”

In “American Carnage,” a new book from Politico correspondent Tim Alberta, Ryan is quoted as saying Trump “didn’t know anything about government” and that Trump’s allies “really helped to stop him from making bad decisions.” Alberta writes that for Ryan, retirement from politics was an “escape hatch.” (When Ryan announced his plans to retire in 2018, he said it was because he wanted to focus on his family.)

In a Thursday night round of tweets, Trump lashed out against Ryan, referring to his failed vice presidential bid and claiming his “record of achievement was atrocious” until Trump took office. 

“When Mitt chose Paul I told people that’s the end of that Presidential run,” the president wrote. “He quit Congress because he didn’t know how to Win.”

Less than an hour after Romney applauded Ryan’s record on Friday, Trump again bashed the former speaker in a press conference, calling him a “baby,” Politico reported.

“He didn’t know what the hell he was doing,” Trump told reporters.

On Saturday, the president suggested that Ryan was “weak, ineffective & stupid” in yet another pair of tweets and admonished him for what Trump called poor fundraising skills. 

Fifteen months ago, after Ryan had just announced he wouldn’t seek reelection in 2018, Trump described the outgoing speaker in very different terms, commending him as “a truly good man” with “a legacy of achievement that nobody can question.”

This story has been updated with Trump’s Saturday tweet.