In a series of tweets on Thursday night, President Trump hurled insult after insult at former House Speaker Paul Ryan, presumably in response to Ryan’s derogatory remarks about Trump in Tim Alberta’s new book, American Carnage.
When Ryan announced his retirement in April 2018, Trump hailed him as “a good man” who “will leave a legacy of achievement that nobody can question.” On Thursday, Trump said Ryan’s “record of achievement was atrocious (except during my first two years as president),” and called him a “failed V.P. candidate” who doomed running mate Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign, and “blew” his House majority “with his poor leadership and bad timing,” ultimately becoming “a long running lame duck failure.”
CNN’s Chris Cuomo also dressed Ryan down Thursday night, for only slightly different reasons. “If integrity is defined by what you do when no one is looking, then perhaps political principle is somewhat of a practical opposite, meaning it is what you stick to when everyone is looking,” he began. And Ryan is “Exhibit A” among all those “who staked their reputation on principle caved to political convenience in this administration.”
“When he took the speakership, insisting he would do it his way, his spine softened,” Cuomo said. “Now that he’s retired, he seems to be trying to recast his reticence to speak truth to power.” Forget about Ryan “remounting the moral high horse about this president’s personal life — I don’t care about his personal life,” Cuomo said. “Let’s stick to serious politics and policy, and remember where Ryan stood while in office.”
Alberta’s book has other examples of politicians who “once opposed and then became patsies” of “this POTUS,” but Ryan “could well have a second act in politics,” and “he’s going to have to own that he was just like the rest of them, not the best of them,” Cuomo said. “This period that we’re all living together right now is going to be remembered for a long time, and people will be counted: What they stood for, what they stood against, and absolutely those who stood still.” Peter Weber