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Photo: Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R) in an address at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., on Thursday evening told his fellow Republicans to stop focusing on the "populist appeal of one personality," and avoid getting "caught up in every little cultural battle," per excerpts of his remarks.

Why it matters: Former President Trump continues to have a profound influence over the GOP. In his speech, Ryan set out to "obliquely [criticize] Donald J. Trump ... warning Republicans that the only viable future for the fractured party is one unattached to the former president," the New York Times writes.

Yes, but: Ryan avoided mentioning Trump by name. Per excerpts, Ryan's only direct reference to the former president surrounds his "populist" image, which in conjunction with "conservative principles," Ryan credited for the "powerful and inclusive economic growth in 2020."

  • Of note: Earlier this week, Ryan headlined a fundraiser for prominent Trump critic Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.).

What he's saying: "If the conservative cause depends on the populist appeal of one personality, or on second-rate imitations, then we’re not going anywhere," Ryan said.

  • "Voters looking for Republican leaders want to see independence and mettle."
  • "[W]e conservatives have to be careful not to get caught up in every little cultural battle. Sometimes these skirmishes are just creations of outrage peddlers, detached from reality and not worth anybody’s time," he said.
  • "They draw attention away from the far more important case we must make to the American people."
  • "[E]ven after the setbacks of 2020, it will be up to the conservative movement, as it always is, to serve those ideals with conviction, heart, and respect for the American people.”   

Ryan also criticized the Biden administration, saying, "In 2020, the country wanted a nice guy who would move to the center and depolarize our politics. Instead, we got a nice guy pursuing an agenda more leftist than any president in my lifetime. "

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Up to 17 U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince earlier this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children were among up to 17 American Christian missionaries and their relatives kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, the New York Times first reported.

Details: The missionaries had just left an orphanage and were traveling by bus to the airport to "drop off some members" when the gang abducted them in Port-au-Prince, Haitian security officials said, per the NYT.

Venezuela suspends talks with opposition after Maduro ally extradited to U.S.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, in June. Photo: Gaby Oraa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key ally of Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro was extradited from Cape Verde to the U.S. Saturday to face money laundering charges in Florida, Bloomberg first reported.

Why it matters: Venezuela's government called off negotiations with opposition officials that were scheduled for Sunday in Mexico in response to the extradition of Alex Saab, a Colombian businessman and financial fixer for Maduro. Security forces placed six U.S. oil executives under house arrest later Saturday, per AP.

Kenosha shooting lawsuit accuses police of coordinating with militia

Police and protesters confront in front of the Kenosha County Courthouse on Aug. 25, 2020. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The only survivor of a fatal shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during protests last year has accused law enforcement in a lawsuit of conspiring with a "band of white nationalist vigilantes," the Washington Post reported Saturday.

Of note: Kyle Rittenhouse, 18, is due to stand trial on Nov. 1, accused of wounding Gaige Grosskreutz, who filed the suit, and killing two other people protesting the police shooting of Jacob Blake on Aug. 25, 2020. He's pleaded not guilty to charges including homicide and attempted homicide and maintains he fired in self-defense.