Ryan's cowardice runs even deeper than we knew.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) has become a symbol of moral cowardice in the Trump era, but he recently made a claim that was shocking in its utter abdication of leadership, even for him.
In a lengthy New York Times profile, Ryan tried to defend his silence in the face of nearly every Trump outrage, claiming that he tells Trump what he thinks in private.
Ryan told interviewer Mark Leibovich that "I can look myself in the mirror at the end of the day and say I avoided that tragedy, I avoided that tragedy, I avoided that tragedy," through his private counsel of Trump.
But when Leibovich asked Ryan to elaborate on which "tragedies" he has prevented Trump from inflicting, Ryan replied, "No, I don’t want to do that... That’s more than I usually say."
Ryan's claim is, on its face, highly disturbing. Even if it's true that Ryan has magically been able to talk Trump out of inflicting tragedies on the country, Ryan should be removing him from office, not keeping those tragedies a secret and supporting the guy who thinks them up.
But Ryan's and Trump's record tells a different story entirely.
After Ryan acknowledged Trump’s "textbook" racism during the presidential campaign, he refused to call Trump out by name for praising Nazis, one of whom killed a young woman in Charlottesville. Ryan's response to that tragedy was to be dragged into reluctantly saying Trump could "do better."
And Ryan has gone right along with Trump’s racist policy of ripping children away from their parents, at least one of whom appears to have committed suicide because of it. What could be a greater "tragedy" than the suffering Trump's administration knowingly and deliberately inflicted on children?
Every Republican who enables Trump is a disgrace, but Ryan's refusal to stand up to Trump is only magnified by the fact that he is now admitting he knows better, he knows of the "tragedies" that Trump would like to commit, yet remains silent.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.