Ryan Finally Stands Up to Trump
Why he did it and what it shows about House Speaker's moral fiber.
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?
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.
More about the Trump Tariffs
- Op Ed: Trump Dead Wrong on Canadian Trade - John Torinus - Jun 21st, 2018
- Op Ed: Trump’s Tariffs Hurt Wisconsin Economy - John Torinus - Jun 11th, 2018
- Trump Tariffs Threaten State’s Exports - Steven Deller, Tessa Conroy and Matthew Kures - May 13th, 2018
- Op Ed: Trump Tariffs Will Harm Trump Country - John Torinus - Mar 14th, 2018
- Statement Regarding Governor Walker’s Phone Call with U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross - Gov. Scott Walker - Mar 9th, 2018
- Op Ed: Ryan Finally Stands Up to Trump - Gregory Humphrey - Mar 8th, 2018
- Governor Walker Visits Wisconsin Employers in Oshkosh, Janesville that Have Expressed Concern with President Trump’s Proposed Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum - Gov. Scott Walker - Mar 6th, 2018
- Governor Walker Releases Statement on the Trump Administration’s Proposed Steel and Aluminum Tariffs - Gov. Scott Walker - Mar 2nd, 2018
- Norquist: Trump Tariffs Will Hurt State Workers - John Norquist - Feb 2nd, 2017