Back on Tuesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan condemned Donald Trump’s incendiary attacks on federal judge Gonzalo Curiel as a “textbook definition of a racist comment.” Since then Ryan has been joined by a slew of GOP elected officials who are also offended by Trump’s rhetoric. Some have withdrawn endorsements. Some have said they will not vote for him. But today The Hill, rather breathlessly, has a story titled Ryan under GOP fire for Trump remarks.
Speaker Paul Ryan’s handling of Donald Trump is coming under criticism from Senate Republicans, many of whom prefer the way their leader, Mitch McConnell, deals with the unconventional candidate.
McConnell, the Senate majority leader from Kentucky, has steadfastly declined to call Trump’s criticism of a federal judge “racist,” a term that Ryan (R-Wis.) pointedly deployed.
The first, and most noticeable thing, about the article is that there are absolutely ZERO Republicans on record as saying what The Hill alludes to. One would think that early drinkers of the Trump Flavor-Aid, like Senator Jeff Sessions, would have been front and center. In fact, there really isn’t even “criticism” to be found.
Another Republican senator was more diplomatic: “If he could have gotten his point across without being so definitive and giving Democrats fodder for people lower on the ticket, that would have been good.”
Senate Republicans won’t criticize Ryan publically because they don’t want to pick a fight with the top-ranking House Republican or be seen as defending Trump’s comment, which many thought was ill-advised.
But they have concerns about whether Ryan is thinking enough about how his actions affect the party’s chances of keeping control of the Senate.
There is no there there. This seems like mischief making. It tries to paint “GOP senators” as being fine with Trump’s comments and angry at Ryan. This is more damaging to the GOP than anything Trump can say because it says not only are they soft racists but they lack courage it they aren’t.
The fact is that Paul Ryan has committed one of the strikingly few acts of moral and political courage witnessed this election season. He said what had to be said. He condemned remarks, not the man. If people in the GOP are concerned about down-ballot races, they really should be worried about the guy saying this stuff, not the guy trying to do damage control.