It has been a very bad week for Donald Trump. Amazingly bad. He attacked the family of a dead U.S. soldier. He said the NFL sent him a letter complaining about the schedule of the presidential debates. The NFL said that they didn’t. More recently he claimed he watched a “top secret” video showing Iranians unloading $400 million allegedly sent as a “ransom” payment for American hostages. (The payment wasn’t ransom and no such video exists.)
Thanks to those things, Trump has been criticized by Gold Star families. One sitting GOP congressman, New York’s Richard Hanna, has announced that he will be voting for Hillary Clinton. But Trump still has the support of House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Ryan, who as Speaker Of the House is at the present time the highest ranking Republican in the country, mildly and indirectly criticized Trump’s attack on the parents of Capt. Humayun Khan, saying:
As I have said on numerous occasions, a religious test for entering our country is not reflective of these fundamental values. I reject it. … Many Muslim Americans have served valiantly in our military, and made the ultimate sacrifice. Captain Khan was one such brave example.
Because of that mild rebuke, Trump has endorsed Paul Nehlen, who is opposing Ryan in next week’s primary.
But what Trump and his surrogates have been saying about Khan’s parents, along with the lies he is being repeatedly called out on, isn’t enough to make the Wisconsin congressman withdraw his support from the candidate. According to Ryan, there is a “line” out there somewhere, and if Trump crosses it, the Speaker will take back his endorsement. Amazingly, Ryan says Trump has not yet crossed that line.
Ryan spoke to conservative Wisconsin talk show host Charlie Sykes on Friday, where he talked about the possibility he could revoke his endorsement of the GOP candidate. But he wouldn’t specify exactly what might make him do that.
The congressman said that endorsing a candidate doesn’t mean you are giving them a “blank check” saying you agree with everything they do and say. Sykes asks Ryan, “Is there anything that he could say that would cause you to basically say, ‘I’m cancelling that check?'”
Ryan replies, “Of course. But I’m not going to go down the road of relitigating his past comments.”
In other words, anything Trump has said up to this point, however false, however outrageous, however offensive, is fine and dandy with Paul Ryan. And his line in the sand hasn’t been crossed. Which isn’t surprising, since he doesn’t even know where it is.
Here is what Paul Ryan had to say to Charlie Sykes about his support for Trump:[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/276962821″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]
Featured image via Mark Wilson/Getty Images