When you think about the fact that Paul Ryan became Speaker of the House during the same time Donald Trump was cementing himself as the new “rock star” within the Republican party, it’s slightly strange. While I view both individuals as con men, the two really couldn’t be more different.
For as much as I dislike Ryan, he is a very well-spoken, controlled and calculated individual. He’s far more radical than most people give him credit for, but he’s much more like your stereotypical Republican than he is someone like Trump.
Yet, within just a few months of Paul Ryan replacing John Boehner as the Speaker of the House, Donald Trump stormed through the GOP presidential primary to easily clinch the party’s nomination. Two people who are almost nothing alike as it relates to the type of “politician” they are, somehow, in this whacky political year, managed to become the two faces of the Republican party.
Needless to say, the pairing has not gone how either individual had hoped.
Numerous times over the last few months, Speaker Ryan has been put in the position of having to “speak for the party” as it relates to something Trump has said or done.
On the other hand, Trump has been less than happy with the way party leadership has been supporting him – which starts at the top with Paul Ryan.
Let’s not forget that just after Trump had essentially locked up the party’s nomination, Ryan refused to endorse him right away. While some might not see Ryan’s move as that big of a deal considering we all knew that he’d eventually line up behind Trump, it’s incredibly telling that he didn’t endorse him immediately. I can’t imagine Ryan hesitating to endorse John Kasich, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio or even Ted Cruz — but he did when it came to Trump.
Then there was Ryan recently calling Trump’s comments about an American-born judge he called “Mexican” as “textbook examples of racism.” While I understand Ryan wanting to condemn Trump’s behavior, it’s still rare to see someone in his position speaking out against the person who’s the party’s presumptive presidential nominee.
Well, during an interview Sunday with Meet the Press, Chuck Todd exposed what a gutless coward Paul Ryan really is when it comes to this whole situation with Donald Trump.
“I feel like I have certain responsibilities as not just Congressman Paul Ryan from the 1st District of Wisconsin, but as Speaker of the House,” Ryan said. “And imagine the Speaker of the House not supporting the duly elected nominee of our party, therefore creating a chasm in our party to split us in half, which basically helps deny us the White House and strong majorities in Congress.”
“Now having said that,” he added, “if something is done and said that I don’t agree with, that I think puts a bad label on conservatism then I’m going to speak out on it as I have, as I will continue to do. And I hope I don’t have to keep doing it.”
“You just made a case though of party over country,” Todd replied.
“No, I didn’t,” Ryan quickly responded. “I know Hillary Clinton won’t agree with anything we want to do. She’ll put a bad judge on the Supreme Court, she won’t agree with any of the conservative reforms we are trying to do.”
Todd was absolutely right. Paul Ryan can try to spin his answer however he likes, but he essentially said that, because it would look bad for the party, no matter what Trump says or does he’s going to support him.
He can say it’s because Hillary Clinton wouldn’t back “anything” Republicans wanted to do, but the issues with Trump have nothing to do with whether or not he’d support some of their policies. You can find all sorts of bigots, racists and blatant white supremacists who’ll support a good deal of what Republicans “want to do.” The issue with Trump is that, by supporting him, people like Ryan are endorsing all the bigotry, racism, sexism and everything else vile and ignorant that comes with him just because, well, “it’s what’s best for the party.”
Heck, former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke is a Republican (and was actually elected in Louisiana in 1989) who would likely sign off on most of what Paul Ryan wants passed in Congress. So, using his own words, does that mean Ryan would endorse someone like Duke, a known white supremacist, if he happened to win the GOP nomination? Because that’s essentially Ryan’s argument. Because he doesn’t feel Clinton would do anything Republicans want, he’d rather support someone who uses “textbook racism” because that person will.
Then Ryan is completely ignoring the fact that, just by being who he is, Trump would cause issues that no other candidate, Democrat or Republican, would cause. Say what you want about Hillary Clinton, one thing she won’t do is embarrass the United States on a global stage like Donald Trump already has. Republicans won’t admit it, but the whole world is laughing in horror at the United States right now because someone like Trump has managed to be a presidential candidate for one of our country’s two largest political parties.
But I loved the fact that Chuck Todd absolutely hammered Paul Ryan for clearly putting party before country. Because no matter what excuses Ryan might try to use to defend his support of Donald Trump, the bottom line is, this is all about Ryan trying to save his own political career by putting, as Todd said, “party over country.”
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