House Speaker Paul Ryan said on Thursday in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper that he is “just not ready to [support presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump]”.
This, of course, was met by a rebuttal from Trump in which he said — I’m paraphrasing here — “Well, I’m not going to support YOU, doodie-head! So there.”
Okay, that was a bad paraphrase, but it sounds like something a first grader might say, which is about the level of education Trump has used in conducting himself during his campaign up to this point.
But Trump, did, in fact, say he would not support Ryan, in essence saying “I’m right and you’re wrong” and thus flipping the proverbial double bird to the Speaker of the House.
Sean Hannity of Fox News, a prominent Republican who has one of the most popular talk radio shows in the country, had less than flattering words for Ryan.
“Establishment out to sabotage GOP nominee, yet they betrayed the base,” Hannity tweeted at Ryan.
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) May 5, 2016
Hannity seems to have disregarded the rest of Ryan’s interview with Tapper, in which Ryan said he wanted to support Trump, but that the presumptive nominee had some work to do unifying the party first.
What’s wrong with that? He didn’t say he was joining the #NeverTrump movement.
Hannity went on to tweet, “The Hell with what the voters think. Circular firing squad now led by @SpeakerRyan”, before suggesting “Maybe we need a new Speaker.”
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) May 6, 2016
What Hannity is neglecting to realize is that he is being hypocritical.
The “will of the people” and “what voters think” is not only reflected by those who voted for Trump, but also by those who did not vote for him.
Yes, Trump has received more votes than any other Republican candidate. And yes, he is on his way to receiving the majority now that his last competitors have dropped out of the race.
But to ignore the fact that this has been a contentious campaign fueled by hate and indignation and that large chunks of Republican voters are so upset at Trump to the point that they might vote for Hillary Clinton or just stay home on Election Day, is also ignoring the will of the people and disregarding what voters think.
I get it. I understand that no matter how unpleasant Trump might be, no matter how unpresidential, smarmy, pompous, arrogant — and any other synonym you might want to add — Trump continues to act, four years of Clinton is a near death sentence to conservatism and would be far worse than a Trump presidency.
But that doesn’t mean that Americans — Republicans specifically — should just fall in line and blindly pledge allegiance to somebody whose character and values they strongly question.
That’s not called democracy … that’s called dictatorship.
Americans want a president that they can believe in. Somebody who leads by example and can be a role model for the youth of the nation. Yes, Americans want a leader who “get things done.” But dictators get things done, too, and they still don’t have the love of their people.
I think Speaker Ryan gave a perfect response when asked if he is now supporting Trump as the presumptive nominee. He said that he wanted to, but that he’s not there yet.
I feel the same way.
Trump offended a lot of Republicans on his way to becoming the presumptive nominee. Now Trump should be the one to work on mending the fences — or “walls”, as is more applicable with Trump — for the sake of uniting the party.
Ryan is also getting some flak from other members of the Republican party and staunch supporters of Trump, who claim that Ryan needs to “be a leader” by setting a good example for other skeptical Republicans to fall in line and unite behind Trump.
Those who lay that burden on Speaker Ryan are misdirecting responsibility.
Yes, as Speaker of the House, second in the United States presidential line of succession, Ryan holds the highest Republican office in all the land.
But he’s not the most prominent Republican. That honor now belongs to Trump, because he’s running for president. And as the most distinguished person in the Republican Party, Trump is responsible for “leading” and “inspiring” and causing Republicans to find hope in him.
Thus far, he seems like he has no interest in fulfilling that role. Maybe he can do that by the convention and give people a reason — not to “fall in line” behind him like minions at the feet of a dictator, but instead to race to his side with loyalty like followers of a great democratic leader.