NEW BERLIN, Wis. (AP) — House Speaker Paul Ryan on Friday dismissed criticism from Donald Trump, saying that if he responded to every comment from the Republican presidential candidate, "I'd lose my voice."
Trump told a crowd in South Carolina this week that Ryan doomed the GOP presidential ticket four years ago by saying entitlement programs need reform. At the time, Ryan was Mitt Romney's running mate.
Ryan, in an appearance Friday at a plastics manufacturer in his home district, stuck to his position that "if we don't reform our entitlement programs they're gonna go bankrupt."
He also said his policy wouldn't have cut Social Security benefits for seniors and that he wanted to overhaul the program to keep it going into the future.
"All of our entitlement reforms," he said, "make sure that no benefit cut occurs to anybody in or near retirement, but that we reform them for those of us who are younger, so that these programs are there for us when we retire and so that we can guarantee that seniors actually have the benefits that are being promised to them."
Trump on Wednesday at a South Carolina appearance was asked how he would make Social Security solvent.
"I love the question," Trump responded. "Because every single other candidate is going to cut the hell out of your Social Security. Remember the wheelchair being pushed over the cliff when you had Ryan chosen as your vice president? That was the end of that campaign, by the way, when they chose Ryan. And I like him, he's a nice person, but that was the end of the campaign. I said, you've got to be kidding — because he represented cutting entitlements, etcetera, etcetera. The only one that's not going to cut is me."
Trump didn't address how he might overhaul the program.
Ryan said Friday that his stance on entitlements wasn't a weakness. He said he and Romney won the senior vote by 12 percentage points and that it was the best a Republican ticket has done since Ronald Reagan's landslide victory in 1984.
"So I think the results speak for themselves," he said. "Senior citizens understood that we were looking out for their best interests."