WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Paul Ryan took a barely veiled shot at Donald Trump on Monday, saying candidates are responsible for the tone of their campaign events and should never fuel public anger and violence.
Ryan, R-Wis., made the remarks three days after fist-swinging confrontations between supporters of the leading Republican presidential candidate and protesters led Trump to cancel a Chicago rally.
"Look, people are angry," Ryan said on WRJN, a radio station in Racine, Wisconsin, in an interview in which he didn't mention Trump's name. "But the solution isn't to call names. It isn't to stoke anger for political gain."
Ryan's comments come a day before GOP presidential primaries are to be held in Ohio, Florida and several other large states. If Trump has a strong showing in those contests, he could amass enough delegates to make his bid for the nomination nearly unstoppable.
Some leading establishment Republicans like Mitt Romney, the party's 2012 presidential candidate, have been publicly trying to derail Trump.
Ryan, Romney's vice presidential running mate, has mostly avoided commenting on the presidential contest. But two weeks ago, Ryan was among Republicans who criticized Trump for not forcefully denouncing an endorsement Trump received from David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan.
Rival presidential contenders of both parties and others have accused Trump of comments that foster sporadic violence that has occurred at some of his events. Ryan said Monday that candidates should propose solutions to problems and "not simply add gas to the fire, not simply, you know, just amplify the anger."
He said contenders "need to take responsibility for the environment at their events. There is never an excuse for condoning violence, or even a culture that presupposes it."
Ryan said House Republicans are spending this year crafting policies to address problems and said the candidates should follow that example.
"That's the kind of debate we ought to be having, instead of name-calling, instead of riots," he said. "Instead of just boiling over the anger and festering the anger, we should be channeling it into a better way forward."