WASHINGTON — President Trump laid into Republican Paul Ryan, the former House speaker, as a ‘‘baby’’ and a ‘‘terrible speaker’’ on Friday after Ryan was quoted in a new book as saying the president didn’t know anything about governing and that he retired to get away from him.
Trump unleashed his criticism on one of Wisconsin’s favorite sons just before leaving to go to the state he wants to win in 2020. He called the former congressman’s record ‘‘atrocious’’ in the wake of unflattering comments Ryan made about Trump in a new book
‘‘Paul Ryan let us down. Paul Ryan was a terrible speaker,’’ Trump told reporters on the South Lawn. ‘‘Frankly, he was a baby. He didn’t know what the hell he was doing.’’
Ryan condemns Trump in ‘‘American Carnage,’’ by Tim Alberta of Politico. Alberta wrote that the former speaker, who retired from Congress in 2018, could not stand the idea of another two years with the Republican president and saw retirement as the ‘‘escape hatch.’’ Ryan is quoted saying: ‘‘I’m telling you, he didn’t know anything about government. I wanted to scold him all the time.’’
Ryan had no comment Friday on the president’s tweets about him, his spokesman Brendan Buck said.
Trump may have been angered by various revelations in the book, including accounts recalling widespread negative GOP reactions to his off-color videotaped comments in the ‘‘Access Hollywood’’ scandal in the closing weeks of the 2016 election campaign. Ryan’s reaction was particularly harsh.
The book recounted Ryan, who served in Congress for 20 years, saying Trump’s presidency was slipping as he was less willing to accept advice from Republicans to moderate his approach.
‘‘Those of us around him really helped to stop him from making bad decisions. All the time,’’ Ryan said. ‘‘We helped him make much better decisions, which were contrary to kind of what his knee-jerk reaction was. Now I think he’s making some of these knee-jerk reactions.’’