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Paul Ryan Strikes Back At Donald Trump–But Needs To Juggle Carefully

August 4, 2016

I asked the question on this blog when would House Speaker Paul Ryan attempt to save himself from the stain of Donald Trump?

Today we have an answer.

In a radio interview Ryan did repeat his endorsement of GOP nominee Trump but then added for clarity that it was “not a blank check”.    Ryan continued in his comments to push back on Trump’s mean comments and bizarre campaign style over the past days.

He’s had a pretty strange run since the convention.  You would think that we want to be focusing on Hillary Clinton, on all of her deficiencies. She is such a weak candidate that one would think that we would be on offense against Hillary Clinton, and it is distressing that that’s not what we’re talking about these days.

Many have questioned why Trump failed to take on Clinton over the latest economic news or speak to other topics of the day as opposed to attacking a Gold Star family. There is a real disconnect from the way traditional campaigning has taken place and where this nation now finds itself with Trump.

In the interview it was clear Ryan is unsettled with how things are playing out, as with the verbal attacks from Trump on the Khan family.  Ryan stated this was “beyond the pale.”

You don’t do that to Gold Star families.  If anyone has earned the right to say whatever they want, it is Gold Star families.

It was telling that Ryan is not yet ready to cross the Rubicon.  He is after all third in line for the presidency, has a house caucus to consider, and I sincerely feel is mindful of the needs of the nation.

So his response to how things might flow in the future given how Trump remains so unstable speaks to all the concerns he must juggle.

I don’t like doing this; I don’t want to do this.  But I will do this because I feel I have to in order to defend Republicans and our principles so that people don’t make the mistake of thinking we think like that.

I have said it before and repeat again now.  The place Ryan now finds himself is not to be envied.  There is a high moral road he could take–an easy one for most of us to see.  But the majority the GOP holds in the House may not be sustainable if a very careful balancing act is not now played by Ryan.

Politically speaking, it simply is not as easy to maneuver as some would make it seem.  I clearly have some definite views about Trump and the issues of this campaign.  But I do not need to worry about the requirements of members of congress in some very tough districts who count on me to lead the way to a majority win in the fall.    I do not need to meet the public test every day as a grounding force nationally as a house speaker does.

I do not need to somehow square the circle daily to meet those requirements as Ryan does.  I may not agree with his chosen path at times but am aware of how tough it is.

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