AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Former Speaker Paul Ryan Predictably Clobbers Trump, ‘Trump Populism’

Former House Speaker Paul Ryan in a Wednesday interview with the Washington Post clobbered Donald Trump, whining that “Trump populism” is now the “establishment” of the Republican Party. Declaring himself an “anti-establishment Republican,” Ryan further whined that he’s in the minority of his own party.

I’m in the minority of my party right now. I’m not in the establishment. I’m frankly an anti-establishment Republican. And I think you can safely argue– I don’t enjoy acknowledging this– that Trump is the establishment and Trump populism is the establishment. And that Trump populism is this more isolationist strain that I think is wrong and dangerous, and I don’t support, but that does represent a large swath of Republican voters.

Of course Ryan enjoyed “acknowledging this.”

Ryan also managed to work in a few shots at Tucker Carlson for what he sees as the former Fox News host’s unabashed support of Trump — and his recent interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

What worries me more– not just Tucker, that’s a symptom of all this– is that they’re curating sympathy in America. And they’re, they’re helping nurture and develop an isolationist wing in my party and in our country, which I think is very, very dangerous.They’re developing people who want to see NATO reduced or NATO not adhered to. Obviously, former President Trump is pushing this line as well. So what I very much worry about is they’re helping curate a line of thought, a school of thought that is isolationist, that is pro-Putin, pro-Russia, pro-tyranny at the end of the day. And that is extremely dangerous for all democracy, but for us as ourselves as a democracy. And so what I see Tucker as, just one little chapter in that story. I didn’t watch that whole interview. I watched a little bit of it, but it just looked like a kind of an infomercial for Putin to be able to push his propaganda.

Sounds just a left-winger, doesn’t he? The horror of a real journalist doing real journalism, I mean.

As one might imagine, Ryan heaped praise on former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley for remaining in the Republican presidential primaries race against insurmountable odds — including a likely double-digit beatdown in her home state’s GOP presidential primary on Saturday. 

The former Speaker called Haley’s stubbornness “healthy” for the party.

I do think she’s bringing up a healthy dialogue, raising important questions. So I think it’s healthy for our party that she stays in the race.

Is it? Or is Ryan more obsessed with Trump than concerned with winning back the White House in November?

Ryan also said the multiple indictments against Trump allow him to play the victim card, which has helped the former president in the polls.

I also think these indictments, particularly the New York ones, made him a victim, and that grafted MAGA onto him that much more.

Finally, Ryan refused to rule out a someday return to politics, saying that while he enjoys his current life, he’s “deeply worried about the country.”

Please spare us, Paul. You already had your shot — and you missed the target by a mile.

The Bottom Line

So here’s the thing. And it’s true about all politicians. Donald Trump — and “Trumpism,” as it were — is neither as preeminent as his staunch supporters claim he is, nor as menacing as the TDS-riddled crowd thinks he is.  

Where is Paul Ryan on that spectrum? While I doubt that the former Speaker sees the former president as menacing, I suspect he sees Trump as dangerous. 

Dangerous to what, you asked? Weak-kneed Republicans who are incapable of governing when in the majority and who fold up like cheap suits to Democrats when they’re in the minority.

In that respect, let’s hope Ryan was right when he said he’s in the minority of his party.

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