Reprinted from The Nation
Donald Trump is an ungrateful man.
Instead of thanking House Speaker Paul Ryan for all he has done for his presidential candidacy, the Republican nominee has been taunting his most prominent supporter.
Trump started the week by announcing that he was not ready to endorse Ryan in Wisconsin's August 9 primary: "I like Paul, but these are horrible times for our country. We need very strong leadership. We need very, very strong leadership. And I'm just not quite there yet. I'm not quite there yet."
Seriously? "Not quite there" yet? After all that Paul Ryan has done for the Donald?
That makes no sense.
Of course, Ryan deserves Trump's support. Ryan and Trump deserve each other.
The point here is not to suggest that the speaker merits re-election. He's a miserable excuse for a congressman who thinks about nothing except his own political advancement -- from congressional aide to congressman to House Budget Committee chair to 2012 Republican vice-presidential nominee to House Ways and Means Committee chair to House speaker to 2020 Republican presidential prospect.
Ryan had never represented southeast Wisconsin's first congressional district well because he has always chosen Wall Street over Main Street. As such, he has voted for trade deals that have been devastating for workers and communities in a district that has seen factory after factory close. He has voted for Wall Street bailouts while refusing to support basic investments in workers and communities in his district. And he has proposed speculation schemes that threaten to destroy Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid programs that are vital to his constituents.
Few members of Congress are so worthy of rejection as Paul Ryan -- a point that his angry primary challenger, businessman Paul Nehlen, has made with a renegade campaign that has stirred national attention.
Nehlen is supportive of Trump. But, so, too is Ryan.
Media outlets made a big deal about Ryan's discomfort with Trump last spring. (And Trump is now mimicking Ryan's tortured language from that time.) But Ryan's "caution" was theatrical rather than real.