From Obama to Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan’s Record on Israel Shows Unwavering Support
House Speaker Paul Ryan — who announced on Wednesday that he will not be seeking re-election in the Wisconsin 1st District that he has represented since 1998 — will be remembered by Israel’s advocates in Washington, DC, as one of the Jewish state’s most stalwart backers during its diplomatic clashes with the Obama administration.
Ryan won many plaudits in January 2017 for his forthright speech to the House of Representatives in which he declared, “I am stunned! I am stunned!” in response to the unprecedented US abstention the previous month on a UN Security Council resolution that condemned Israeli settlement activities.
“This government — our government — abandoned our ally Israel when she needed us the most,” Ryan declared.
The veteran Republican also crossed swords with the Obama administration over the nuclear deal with Iran reached three months before he was elected speaker of the House in October 2015 — and pointedly chose Israel as the destination for his first overseas visit in that post the following March.
Addressing AIPAC’s policy conference in Washington, DC, in that same month, Ryan criticized the deal as one in which the Tehran regime “got something for essentially nothing.”
“Instead of dismantling Iran’s nuclear program, we legitimized it,” Ryan asserted. “This is a huge threat to Israel. And it is a threat to our country too.”
While Ryan was hardly enthused by Donald Trump’s nomination as the GOP’s candidate in 2016 — one tweet from Trump in October 2016 told the speaker not to “waste his time…fighting” his own party’s nominee — their views on key foreign policy issues have converged over the past year. When Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017, Ryan greeted the announcement as “a recognition of reality.”
“This is a day that is long overdue,” Ryan continued. “Jerusalem has been, and always will be, the eternal, undivided capital of the State of Israel. The city’s status as the religious epicenter of Judaism is an historical fact — not a matter of debate.”
Watch Paul Ryan’s speech to the US Congress condemning Obama administration’s abstention on UN Israel Vote: