The biggest rat to be abandoning the sinking Republican ship is House Speaker Paul Ryan, the would-be wunderkind wonk and most overrated policy-maker in recent memory. He’s leaving now, undoubtedly, to try to get out with the minimum of Trump taint. To that end, he’s spending his remaining days in office in a manner that’s entirely predictable. Instead of contributing to the effort to keep the government from shutting down at the end of the week, he’s polishing his turd of a record with a multi-part video recorded on the taxpayer dime, and with a farewell address at the Library of Congress.
Good riddance—but only for now. He’ll be back because that’s what happens with bad pennies, right? They just stay in circulation. The good news is, even some of his closest colleagues have concerns about his willingness to let the Republican party—and the country—be debased so wholly by Donald Trump. They’re even going on the record about it, anonymously.
Several longtime friends of Ryan declined to make public comments, citing their private disappointment in him and saying Ryan would be personally hurt if they shared their blunt assessments. “Paul doesn’t want to believe it’s all as bad as it is,” one said.
If they’re really his friends, they’ll tell him in private. Not that it would sink in. Because, if his docu-comedy is any indication, he considers himself the greatest thing since sliced bread and Ronald Reagan, never mind that his only real achievement is passing that disastrous tax bill that has ballooned the deficit Ryan supposedly cares so much about. In fact, he makes that tax bill the centerpiece of his video, leaving out that infamous deleted tweet, which will live on.
What will also live on (because we will never allow it to be forgotten) is that exchange he had with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy in June 2016, when it was clear that Trump would get the nomination. “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy quipped, a conversation quickly nipped in the bud by Ryan. “No leaks,” he immediately interjected. “This is how we know we’re a real family here.”
That’s Ryan in a nutshell: Party before country, and self before party. Even if it means selling out the entire nation to a foreign adversary.