When Speaker Paul Ryan told CNN’s Jake Tapper he doesn’t support Donald Trump and might not ever do so, the world of politics was set on its ear. “I hope to support our nominee. I’m just not ready to do that at this point. I’m not there right now.” said Ryan.
When Ryan was elected Speaker of the House in October of 2015, he replaced John Boehner whose leadership caused the institutional standing of the Republican Congress and it’s morale to crumble to a record low. He owed his speakership to the likes of Nancy Pelosi. Put simply, he was compromised.
The Freedom Caucus was prepared to “boot him out of office”, but Boehner “decided” to resign in order to “spare the Party” the embarrassment of removing him. “The idea that this approach was one designed to appeal to some higher purpose is laughable,” wrote Ben Domenech at The Federalist. “One does not fall on a sword when your head is already on the guillotine.”
Nutshell: The House GOP bungled things for years leaving voters feeling betrayed, Paul Ryan was begged to fix things and when the Party realized voters were now wielding their pitchforks and tar and feathers, the blame landed squarely in Ryan’s lap.
The long knives are out for Ryan, due in part, because of his statements made last month when he pointed to his belief that “populism must be tethered to good principles.”
Though he did not mention Trump by name and has been magnanimous in his policy criticisms of Trump in the past, he made it clear that no matter who the eventual nominee would be the Party would be “comfortable” and unify around the platform that he is advocating in Congress. Of course, that statement was made well before the Indiana primary that saw Ted Cruz and John Kasich abandon their run for the Oval Office.
Ryan and Trump will meet face-to-face Thursday at Republican headquarters in DC to determine whether there’s any way to reconcile their differences in both style and substance. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus will play counselor to the conservative budget wonk the GOP clamored for to run for president and the presumptive nominee whose surprising voter appeal has rocked the Party.
Ryan’s gambit appeared to be a desire to provide cover for the many Republican lawmakers who do not want to be pinned down with a “yes” or “no” answer to the question of whether they will support Trump as their nominee.
For the conspiracy-minded:
What happens if no presidential candidate gets the required 270 Electoral College votes needed to win election?
If no candidate receives a majority of electoral votes, the House of Representatives elects the President from the presidential candidates who received the most electoral votes. Each state delegation has one vote. The Senate would elect the Vice President from the 2 Vice Presidential candidates with the most electoral votes. Each Senator would cast one vote for Vice President. If the House of Representatives fails to elect a President by Inauguration Day, the Vice-President Elect serves as acting President until the deadlock is resolved in the House.