The Washington Post slammed Paul Ryan in a scathing editorial Thursday evening, hours after the House speaker endorsed Donald Trump.
“On Thursday Mr. Ryan capitulated to ugliness,” the Post’s editorial board wrote. “It was a sad day for the speaker, for his party and for all Americans who hoped that some Republican leaders would have the fortitude to put principle over partisanship, job security or the forlorn fantasy that Mr. Trump will advance a traditional GOP agenda.”
“Donald Trump and I have talked at great length about things such as the proper role of the executive and fundamental principles such as the protection of life,” Ryan wrote. “The list of potential Supreme Court nominees he released after our first meeting was very encouraging.”
He continued: “Through these conversations, I feel confident he [Trump] 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.”
The Post called Ryan’s confidence in the Manhattan billionaire “fanciful.”
“Judging by his wild swings of position over the years, Mr. Trump does not believe in much of anything,” the Post wrote. “The convictions that he does hold — against free trade and U.S. leadership abroad, for dividing the nation by religion and ethnicity — are antithetical to the principles Mr. Ryan has said guide him. Having secured the nomination without Mr. Ryan’s help, a President Trump certainly would not feel bound by any assurances that Mr. Ryan believes he has heard from the candidate.”
Ryan fuelled speculation over whether he would support Trump after he said in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper last month that he was not yet ready to make that commitment. It was an unprecedented stance for the party’s highest-ranking elected official to take on its presumptive nominee.
“To be perfectly candid with you, Jake, I’m just not ready to do that at this point. I’m not there right now,” Ryan told Tapper on May 5. “I hope to, and I want to. But I think what is required is to unify this party. And I think the bulk of the burden on unifying the party will have to come from our presumptive nominee.”
The speaker called on Trump to “set aside bullying, set aside belittlement,” but noted that “no Republican should ever consider supporting Hillary Clinton. Let me make that clear.” Trump shot back that he was “not ready to support Speaker Ryan’s agenda,” either.
“Perhaps in the future we can work together and come to an agreement about what is best for the American people,” Trump said at the time.
Ryan and Trump met to discuss areas of common ground one week later, on May 12, but Ryan said afterward that it was still too soon for an endorsement. Ryan’s spokesman, Brendan Buck, tweeted on Thursday after Ryan’s column was published that “we’re not playing word games, feel free to call it an endorsement.”
Clinton’s spokesman, Brian Fallon, tweeted during her major foreign policy speech that “Hillary Clinton is standing up to Trump in the way that the other Republican candidates — and Paul Ryan — never had the backbone to do.”
The Post said Ryan had a clear choice to abstain from supporting Trump and was not simply backed into a corner. It asked Ryan how he could explain his choice to his kids.
The Post wrote:
Now Mr. Ryan has endorsed a man whose “solutions” include banning Muslims from entering the country, who casts aspersions on judges because of their ethnicity, who mocks people with disabilities, who lies repeatedly, who would muzzle the free press.
Each one of these is disqualifying — particularly for anyone who believes in conducting the nation’s politics in a constructive, reasonable manner or who claims to have the long-term interests of the nation, rather than a short-term win at the ballot box or in Congress, in mind.
Following Mr. Ryan’s endorsement, some insisted that the speaker had little choice. This is false. “My dad used to say, ‘If you’re not a part of the solution, you’re a part of the problem,’ ” Mr. Ryan said in March. When he has a comparable conversation with his children, how will Mr. Ryan explain the decision he made in this campaign?
Trump tweeted Thursday that it was “so great” to have Ryan’s endorsement.
Natasha Bertrand contributed to this report.
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