So Speaker Paul Ryan still endorses GOP presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump only 48 hours after condemning Trump for his dumb remark about the “Mexican” judge who his presiding over a lawsuit against him. Ryan is a good man and always looks like he is sitting on a powder keg. The reason is simple: he is always sitting on a powder keg. When he relented and finally accepted his leadership position in the House he knew that he would be facing the rejectionists of the Freedom Caucus and has suffered for it on pretty much every major policy that has come before him.
Now he is the leader of his party and will chair next month’s National Convention in Cleveland. This is as unenviable a task as his Speakership. He knows that Trump is a loose cannon, even worse. He also knows that he has to at least go through the motions of “preserving party unity” where there is none. He is the leader and it is his job. He also has the wisdom to grasp that his party’s chances in November are dependent on appealing to more than just white voters – a group whose percentage of the electorate has been steadily declining and that Trump’s capacity of expanding is a chimera. And Ryan knows that the GOP, as things currently stand, will probably get an even smaller share of the vote among the ever-increasing and energized Hispanic voters, as well as among African Americans, Asian Americans, Millennials (over 40% of whom are non-white) and women.
Poor Ryan has tried to have it both ways: distancing himself from Trump’s comments yet continuing – in the interests of party unity – to support his candidacy. In so doing, he is losing credibility daily. Endorsing Trump this past week was equal to endorsing racism. Even though Trump was addressing a personal lawsuit and trying to apparently get a “hostile” judge removed from the case, Trump still used the judge’s ethnicity as the factor in question. There is a very simple rule here: replace “Mexican” with “Jew”, “Arab”, “African American”, “Italian”, “Welsh”, or your ethnic group. It is wrong and you don’t like it. Criticizing Trump for his outlandishness is not an exercise in political correctness, it is the only thing to do. Ryan was right the first time: Trump’s comments were a “textbook example of racism”. Condemn him for it and threaten to withhold support from him until he owns up, apologizes, and promises never to do it again. Trump is running for President of all of the people, isn’t he?
Selective morality and outrage is trying to have it both ways. Ryan’s continued endorsement is not unlike the father of the Stanford swimmer, the convicted brutal rapist, who did not want his son to have his life ruined because of “only 20 minutes of action”. Sure, a father was only trying to protect his son, but right and wrong are universal and the father’s comments were not inartful, they revealed a culture of misogyny that has no place in our society. Neither does attacking a judge (or anyone else) for his ethnicity.
Two stupid and dangerous quotes in just one week.