Paul Ryan on Trump, Pope Francis, and Eddie Lacy

Posted at 8:36 PM, Feb 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-19 22:11:09-05

House Speaker Paul Ryan is trying not to play ref in the GOP Presidential fight.

TODAY'S TMJ4's Charles Benson asked Ryan about comments from Pope Francis that suggested Donald Trump was "not Christian" for wanting to build a wall.

Benson: Do you agree with the pope? Are you surprised what he said?
Ryan: There are a couple of rules I've adopted as House Speaker, one don't wade into day-to-day presidential elections, and as a Catholic don't go against the Pope.

You can try, but don't expect Ryan to talk about Trump or any of the presidential candidates. As House Speaker, he wants to remain neutral.

So when the pope expressed concerns about building a wall along the US- Mexico border, Ryan would only say:

"Everybody speaks their mind in American society, the pope, he absolutely has every right to speak his mind; but so do presidential candidates and that's healthy."

Speaker Ryan suggests Trump doesn't have his facts right about why Republicans lost the 2012 presidential election. Trump says Ryan's call for entitlement reforms hurt the GOP's chances with senior voters. Ryan was Mitt Romney's VP candidate.

"That was the end of that campaign by the way," said Trump, "when they chose Ryan, and I like him, he's a nice person. But that was the end of the campaign."

Benson: He (Trump) sort of threw you under the bus about the 2012 campaign. He's thrown a lot of people under the bus. But he sort of blamed you for the the loss in 2012. What did you think of that?
Ryan: We won the senior vote by 12 points, better than any campaign since 1984 with Ronald Reagan, so I think the evidence speaks to the truth of that point.

Ryan says his goal is to set an agenda that helps Republicans win the White House.

"How do you get the economy growing to pay down the debt? Getting people out of poverty, and restoring upward mobility and national security."

Benson: Do you think the party is doing enough to reach out to voter blocks that are growing - the Hispanic, Latino vote and making a pitch to them to bring them into the party?
Ryan: No, I don't. I don't think our party is doing enough to reach out to different voting blocks and we have to do more and more.

There's a lot more on Ryan's plate these days as Speaker, but I did ask the fitness guru if he had any advice to help Packers running back Eddie Lacy lose weight.

Ryan: He's doing P90X I'm told. It's going to work for him.
Benson: Can you work out with him, can you help him?
Ryan: I'd be honored. He'd kick my butt I'm sure, but I'd be honored to.