On Thursday, smack dab in the middle of a major speech by Hillary Clinton, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan quietly announced that he would be voting for Trump. Or as his spokesman colorfully put it: “We’re not playing word games, feel free to call it an endorsement.”
Thus ends the “will they, won’t they?” phase of the “moderate” Republican courtship of Donald Trump’s presidency. With Paul Ryan, Trump locks up the party. He owns it now. It’s his.
Ryan and Trump met recently to attempt to hash out their differences. The meeting went okay, with Trump reportedly privately promising Ryan that he will work on dismantling social security when he’s the president, but won’t run on the issue. Ryan, whose rabid hatred of “entitlements” borders on pathological, must have swooned. In a column explaining why he’s voting for Trump, he brings up policy agreements. It’s likely that these types of entitlement cuts are what he means.
Through these conversations, I feel confident he would help us turn the ideas in this agenda into laws to help improve people’s lives. That’s why I’ll be voting for him this fall.
It’s no secret that he and I have our differences. I won’t pretend otherwise. And when I feel the need to, I’ll continue to speak my mind. But the reality is, on the issues that make up our agenda, we have more common ground than disagreement.
It’s hard to put into words just how truly spineless it is for Ryan to cave to Trump. Just weeks ago, Ryan was lamenting how unpresidential the Republican front-runner was. Has anything changed since then? Not really. In fact, Trump has seemingly only gotten worse since becoming the nominee. This week, while Ryan was wrestling with his endorsement, Trump publicly called the judge presiding over his current lawsuit a secret “Mexican” hater. Today, Trump was caught openly and unapologetically lying about his plan to give Japan nuclear weapons. Yesterday, he was stumped by a basic foreign policy question about the European Union.
Instead, Ryan’s announcement appears to be timed for maximum overlook. It’s hardly a coincidence that he released his announcement, in his local paper, at the exact time Hillary Clinton was scheduled to give a major policy speech that would surely dominate the headlines. Ryan may be a pathetic coward, but he’s not crazy. He knows how this will look.
Featured image via screengrab