A voter asked Speaker Paul Ryan what he can do, if anything, about Donald Trump's disrespectful and unethical behavior. He laughed at her.
Speaker Paul Ryan laughed and brushed off a voter's question after she asked him what he plans to do to rein in Donald Trump's repeated violations of ethical rules and behavior while sitting in the White House.
Ryan was addressing a crowd at a town hall being held at Boeing's facility in Everett, Wisconsin. Ryan has been dodging his voters for months, holding controlled events in corporate settings instead of open town halls.
"Boeing prides itself on respect and communicating transparency to employees and also expects ethical behavior," the Boeing employee said. "I don't know that every person sees that from our president right now. So my question for you, Speaker Ryan, is how do you see yourself personally influencing, and are you confident that you can influence, the president?"
In response, Ryan laughed.
"It's a day-by-day deal," he said, adding, "I'm kind of joking." Then, instead of seriously answering her, Ryan reiterated his personal condemnation of "repulsive bigotry and racism" — in contrast to Trump's blatant excuse-making on behalf of white supremacists and neo-Nazis.
Ryan then said he and Trump "have very different speaking styles" and returned to his argument that he continues to back Trump's presidency since they have shared economic interests and agendas. But as MSNBC's Joy Reid noted when Ryan dragged out this argument before, this puts his personal politics before "the moral life of the nation."
VOTER: Boeing prides itself on respect and communicating transparency to employees and also expects ethical behavior. I don't know that every person sees that from our president right now. So my question for you, Speaker Ryan, is how do you see yourself personally influencing, and are you confident that you can influence, the president?
RYAN (chuckling): It's a day-by-day deal. (laughing) I'm kind of joking. First, you control your own actions, and you lead by example. If you saw what I was saying in Racine and what I've been saying pretty much every day since, what I think needs to be said, over and over again about repulsive bigotry and racism in this country and how we can never get normal with this, we must always, every single time, stand up and repudiate it and condemn it unequivocally, every time. Because the day we start getting numb to this is the day they've gotten oxygen and they've become normalized, and it's the day we have a huge hit to our culture and our society. So I think it's really important, all of us — it doesn't matter what you believe politically or whether you're a Packers fan or a Seahawks fan — every single one of us needs to stand up and speak to this.
We have different speaking styles, clearly, and I think what it is is, we're in constant contact to try and put together a shared agenda which we agree on, and we're working together to move that shared agenda. For me, it's really important that the president succeeds because if he succeeds, then the country succeeds.
Ryan's answer was laughably evasive. Since taking the White House, Trump has refused to divest from his personal holdings, keeping a financial stake in multiple businesses and industries that he has influence over in the presidency.
His sons have already revealed that they still review private financial figures with Trump in the Oval Office, and their roles as part of his political operation show that there is no separation between Trump's business and his presidency.
His daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, also have financial stakes affected by their West Wing jobs and proximity to Trump.
Trump also has used the presidency to direct business toward his hotel, specifically the Trump International in Washington, D.C., as well as the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. While there has been blowback, with charities canceling events over his pro-white supremacist remarks, the unethical ties remain.
Democrats have been calling on Ryan and his fellow congressional Republicans to fulfill their constitutional duty and provide oversight of Trump and the executive branch.
In his latest statement, Ryan showed once again that he does not take his role seriously, and instead is content to laugh it off while pursuing his destructive agenda.