Speaking at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation dinner on Thursday, Ryan made several jokes about the president, whom he criticized during the 2016 election season but has repeatedly defended since Trump took office.
The dinner is typically attended by the Democrat and Republican presidential nominees during an election year and speakers tend to make jokes about opponents and themselves.
Ryan cracking jokes immediately. After receiving applause, Ryan quipped: “Enough with the applause, alright, you sound like the Cabinet when Donald Trump walks in the room.”
But he wasn’t done. Here are some other remarks from Ryan.
- “Every morning, I wake up in my office and scroll Twitter to see which tweets that I will have to pretend that I did not see later on.”
- “I don’t think I’ve seen this many New York liberals, this many Wall Street CEOs in one room since my last visit to the White House.”
- “When you read the paper’s tomorrow everyone is going to report this thing differently. Breitbart will lead with: ‘Ryan slams the president among liberal elites.’ New York Times will report: ‘Ryan defends president in a state Hillary won.’ And the president will tweet: ‘300,000 at Al Smith dinner cheer mention of my name.’”
- “I know last year that Donald Trump offended some people [at this dinner]. I know how his comments, according to critics, went too far. Some said it was unbecoming of a public figure, and they said his comments were offensive. Well, thank God, he’s learned his lesson.”
- “I’m now second in line of succession since Steve Bannon has resigned. Very cool, very close.”
- “The press absolutely misunderstands and never records the big accomplishments of the White House. Look at all the jobs the president has created, just among the White House staff.”
- “It was last January, January 20th, Cardinal Dolan gave the benediction at President Trump’s inaugural. He recited a prayer from the Book of Wisdom. It’s a book that no one in Washington is familiar with. Actually, there was just this one kind of awkward moment when the Cardinal talked about the infallible almighty supreme being–the president stood up and took a bow.”
Ryan also poked fun at New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s infamous photo of being alone on the beach during a government shutdown, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson allegedly called Trump a “moron,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s relationship with the president, Sen. Ted Cruz‘s Twitter account liking a porn link, and Hillary Clinton’s campaign’s lack of trips to Wisconsin during ahead of the 2016 election.
Ryan was not the only politician to give Trump a ribbing on Thursday. Former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush also took jabs at their predecessor in separate speeches. Unlike Ryan, however, Obama and Bush’s comments were in earnest—and neither mentioned Trump by name.
Obama took to the stump for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam, thinly veiling his criticism of Trump in a speech to the crowd. “We’ve got folks who are deliberately trying to make folks angry, to demonize people who have different ideas, to get the base all riled up because it provides a short-term tactical advantage,” he said.
Bush similarly criticized the president in a speech at the George W. Bush Institute in New York on Thursday during which he condemned the rise of “emboldened” bigotry and nationalism under Trump. “Our politics seem more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication,” he said.