Paul Ryan left the U.S. House and the powerful speaker’s post two years ago. Then the Janesville Republican went silent, avoiding commentary on President Trump.

He and Trump had clashed at times. Sen. Mitt Romney, the Utah Republican who picked Ryan as his 2012 running mate, also clashed with Trump.

Now, with the presidential election over except for the lingering lawsuits, Ryan is speaking out.

Ryan in late November said “legal challenges to the outcome and the attacks on our voting system really need to stop.”

“The outcome will not be changed, and it will only serve to undermine our faith in our system of government, our faith in our democracy,” Ryan said Nov. 24 at Bank of America’s virtual European Credit Conference.

The Janesville Republican referenced his own loss to President-elect Joe Biden in 2012, when both men were on the presidential ticket as vice-presidential candidates.

“I know firsthand what it’s like to lose a national election, and it is a terrible feeling,” he said. “But I think it’s really important that we’re clear about this, which is the mere fact that the president’s lawyers throw these sort of baseless conspiracy theories out at press conferences but offer no evidence of these in court tells you that there is not the kind of widespread voter fraud or systemic voter fraud that would be required to overturn the outcome of this election.”

Ryan’s comments come after the General Services Administration ascertained Biden as the apparent winner of the election, clearing the way for the formal transition process to begin by giving Biden’s team access to federal resources and agencies.

The agency’s administrator, Emily Murphy, had come under increasing pressure to sign off on the transition from Democrats, national security and public health experts, and a handful of GOP lawmakers.

In a letter to Biden, Murphy wrote she came to the decision to authorize the transition “independently, based on the law and available facts.”

Ryan also predicted split control of Washington would be beneficial for Biden.

Referencing a pair of run-off elections in Georgia that appear set to determine the balance of the Senate, he said it would be in Biden’s”best interest” if the Republican incumbents prevailed on Jan. 5.

“Then he really does have divided government and he really does have to work with both sides of the aisle and you won’t have the building pressure from the left to try and jam the other side,” he said.

If incumbent Republican U.S. Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue prevail, Ryan said, the president-elect will be well-positioned because he “knows how to work in divided government.”

The Capitol Report is written by editorial staff at WisPolitics.com, a nonpartisan, Madison-based news service that specializes in coverage of government and politics, and is distributed for publication by members of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association.

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