Of all Donald Trump’s reluctant supporters, none were more obviously putting on a show than House Speaker Paul Ryan. Ryan has had almost nothing positive to say about the Republican nominee, and he has taken several opportunities to condemn him. But if the facade was fooling anyone, it was shattered Monday when Ryan announced that he would no longer defend Trump’s candidacy.
From the New York Times:
Mr. Ryan informed Republican lawmakers on a morning conference call that he would never again campaign alongside Mr. Trump and would dedicate himself instead to defending the party’s majority in Congress, according to five lawmakers who participated in the call and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Ryan was immediately attacked by conservatives on Capitol Hill who accused him of cowardice. According to the Times, one lawmaker – Trent Franks of Arizona – angrily declared that by conceding to Hillary Clinton, Ryan was opening the door to an abortion free-for-all.
Ryan, startled by the backlash, came back in less than an hour to tell his House colleagues that he was not rescinding his endorsement; he simply wanted to focus attention on congressional races instead.
Trump responded to the news on Twitter, saying, “Paul Ryan should spend more time on balancing the budget, jobs and illegal immigration and not waste his time on fighting Republican nominee.”
Ryan’s pivot seems to indicate that the GOP has given up all hope of Trump pulling out a win next month. The goal now appears to be to contain the damage and make sure Hillary Clinton does not arrive in Washington with majorities in the House and Senate.
But of course, it means a lot more than that, because the GOP never wanted Trump to win in the first place. The leadership adopted a lukewarm position for the sake of appearances, and now they’re shifting from mild support to mild repudiation. None of them have the guts to come right out and tell 14 million primary voters: You people got it wrong, and that’s all there is to it.
But rest assured, that’s what they think. That’s what they’ve always thought.
Because thinking about that keeps them from thinking about the truth, which is that their ineffective, pathetic opposition to Obama’s extreme agenda finally came back to haunt them.