Op Ed

Ryan Finally Stands Up to Trump

Why he did it and what it shows about House Speaker's moral fiber.

By - Mar 8th, 2018 01:46 pm
Paul Ryan.

Paul Ryan.

Since the campaign season of 2016 many people, not only in Wisconsin, but across the country have asked what issue would inspire House Speaker Paul Ryan to stand up and confront President Trump. What would it take to add spine to the manner in which Ryan deals with Trump?

Over the past few days we have discovered the answer to that question. But with the answer comes an unsettling recognition.

There is every reason to be mighty concerned about the tariffs Trump wishes to place on steel and aluminum. Unlike Trump, Ryan has read history, is well versed in economics, and can be looked to for guidance on the weighty issue which is now creating so much angst.

Ryan has made it known that Congressional Republicans are maneuvering to stop Trump from levying harsh tariffs, and in so doing making the point that tariffs would undermine the economic agenda the GOP favors. It would also–without Ryan saying it–throw out decades of Republican Party orthodoxy that free trade is a correct principle on which to stand.

To make the point most clear Ryan’s office released a statement saying, “We are extremely worried about the consequences of a trade war and are urging the White House to not advance with this plan.”

I applaud and absolutely agree with Ryan about not allowing for these tariffs to be installed as free trade matters. So then what concerns me about the fast messaging from him on this matter?

Because there have been many past issues where the third person in line to the presidency should have stood up to Trump, and acted for the nation. But that never happened.

It was apparent from the start of the 2016 Election that Trump did not have core convictions. The few things he did rave about, such as being hostile to free trade or long-time alliances with nations around the globe–topics which are supposedly antithetical to the principles of the GOP–didn’t stop Ryan from firmly endorsing him for office.

Most recently Ryan allowed for the dissemination of intelligence information for the partisan purpose of assisting Trump. We have never before seen intel used in such a fashion.  Ryan had the power to intercede and yank Congressman Nunes’ chairmanship, and thereby end the matter from moving forward. But that never happened.

I understand Ryan has a powerfully difficult job as Speaker to a caucus that is more rambunctious than rational. On several occasions I have blogged about the way Ryan navigated a most difficult and unbelievable election cycle in 2016.

In each case I have mentioned, in one way or another, that he must not stray too afar from the moral calling that those who govern must always employ in their jobs. At one point in October 2016 I wrote that Ryan now confronts one of those rare American moments where leadership and character can combine to make a politician taller in the eyes his fellow citizens. Those words were written when the audio tape of Trump speaking on the bus about groping women surfaced.

But the words from Ryan that followed at that time were weak and meaningless.

I want to believe that at the heart of every person there exists a set of principles that play into his or her actions in life. So with that in mind it unnerves me to consider what Trump had to do to finally push Ryan to say Congressional Republicans will not allow this line to be crossed.

What happened to making such a stand when Charlottesville was the headline of the day?

Or when Dreamers were placed in harm’s way?

Or when a Muslim travel ban was being contemplated?

Only when the bottom line was about money and the large corporate interests did Ryan find the need to stand up and let it be known that Congressional Republicans would fight back. That tells us a lot about his moral principles.

Gregory Humphrey writes for the Caffeinated Politics blog

Categories: Politics

9 thoughts on “Op Ed: Ryan Finally Stands Up to Trump”

  1. Troll says:

    Apparently, Paul Ryan wants us to use Chinese dumped steel on oil lines, bridges, roads, schools and airport. How patriotic of him?

  2. Jake currently of the MKE says:

    Ryan is a prostitute for corporations and the wealthy. It’s to be expected.

    Trump threatens the profit flow.

    This is what might get him impeached. We all know were conservatives and republicans true principles are.

    Money and power.

  3. Troll says:

    The author should explain that Dreamers are illegal aliens. Some people don’t understand how the left words things to make them what they actually are not.

  4. max says:

    Ryan the Spineless One is now officially re-classified by biologists as an invertebrate, no spine whatsoever.


  5. Edward Susterich says:


    Unless you are a Native American, we are all part of the “chain migration” from the first illegal immigrant that set foot upon this land.

  6. Timothy J Haering says:

    Ryan did not stand up to Trump. He merely suggested a modification. If he stood up to Trump, he’d have put his alternative on the floor.

  7. Jeff Weiner says:

    Troll the “right” is better at wording things to say what they aren’t. Ryan is and always has been spineless and his only moral compass is money and power. Just like most of the GOP

  8. Rich says:

    Unlike Trump, Ryan has read history, is well versed in economics,

    You man Ayn Rand and his Blueprint for Prosperity (of corporations)? What a f**king joke and worse if you believe it.

  9. Terry says:

    Paul Ryan isn’t standing up against Jack sh#t much less Trump. Even if he was (which he isn’t) it would be too little too late anyways! Paul Ryan, is that his name? Really? I think not. More like…
    Neville Chamberlain anyone!? Ryan has been appeasing and enabling Trump’s crypto-fascism and the Republican’s drive towards authoritarianism for years now!

    Dump Ryan 2018
    Dump Walker 2018
    Dump Trump ASAP

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