‘Where was Paul Ryan after Charlottesville?’ MSNBC's Joe Scarborough says Speaker ‘wasn’t comfortable standing up to Trump’
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough

Former Republican congressman and co-host of MSNBC's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough, offered a "harsh" assessment of the Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) era in Congress during a rare prime-time appearance on All In with Chris Hayes.

"Here's my big question about Paul Ryan, why today, why now?" Hayes asked.

"I think Paul Ryan -- I've known him since he was 22 years old, always liked the guy personally -- there's no doubt that Paul has always been more of a policy guy than a political guy," Scarborough answered.

"There's also no doubt -- it sounds harsh to say -- but he was over-matched by the times," the Morning Joe host continued. "He was overmatched by a president who didn't respect the rule of law, a president that didn't respect the FBI, a president that attacks law enforcement by the day, a president that calls the press enemies of the people, a president that embraces dictators, that attacks our democratic allies across Europe and the rest of the world."

"This was a position he may not have been entirely comfortable in, I'm sure his dream job was being chairman of the Ways and Means Committee," Scarborough suggested. "It was an ill-fitting position for him, he was not comfortable standing up to Donald Trump."

"I don't understand why Paul Ryan was not more comfortable being that person, standing up and speaking out," the morning host said. "I don't understand why Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) or others have not been comfortable doing that."

The former Congressman, who was first elected in the 1994 GOP wave, also gave Speaker Ryan poor marks selecting Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA) to run the House Oversight Committee.

"You know, Devin Nunes is only there -- allowing Donald Trump to do what Donald Trump does -- because Paul Ryan's allowed him to be there," he explained.

"Again, I like Paul Ryan personally, but where was Paul Ryan's press conference after Charlottesville?" he asked. "Where has Paul Ryan been standing up defending Robert Mueller?"

"It hasn't happened," Scarborough noted. "I don't know why, for those of us who have liked Paul Ryan and respected him for years, that will remain one of the great mysteries of his speakership."

"I don't understand it," he added. "And I never will."