- Paul Ryan gave a speech Wednesday on the state of American politics, speaking mostly to interns and the press
- "We shouldn't accept ugliness as the norm," the Wisconsin Republican said in a bluntly worded address
(CNN)Without mentioning Donald Trump by name, House Speaker Paul Ryan repeatedly warned Wednesday the presidential race is dividing the country and urged GOP candidates to offer solutions instead of campaigning on the politics of fear.
"Instead of playing to your anxieties, we can appeal to your aspirations. Instead of playing the identity politics of our base versus their base, we unite people around ideas and principles. And instead of being timid, we go bold. We don't just resort to scaring you, we dare to inspire you," Ryan said, from a podium in the ornate hearing room where he once presided over the powerful tax writing committee.
He also confessed he was a "late convert" on criminal justice reform proposals. He said his party "overcompensated" on the issue in the 1990's when he first began his career in public service but creating "mandatory minimums" and "three strikes" laws which he said ended up ruining some people's lives and damaging many communities.