Paul Ryan could have concluded his meeting with Donald Trump by issuing a bold, principled statement that put the honor of the 162-year old Republican Party ahead of personalities, and that put the good of the nation ahead of petty partisanship.
Ryan could have found the words.
The speaker of the House could have borrowed a few lines from his Republican colleague from Wisconsin, Congressman Reid Ribble, who said last fall, “I am not obligated to support a bad candidate from any party. I will not support Donald Trump for president of the United States, no matter what the circumstances.”
“I reject wholeheartedly the Trump campaign for president. I think it works at our most base interests, it’s prurient,” explained Ribble, who represents northeastern Wisconsin, where abolitionists and “free-soil” land reformers forged a Grand Old Party (after its founding just a few miles outside Ribble’s district in the small city of Ripon) and shared the faith of John Fremont and Abraham Lincoln in “the necessity of the organization and [the] perpetuation of the Republican party, and that the causes which called it into existence are permanent in their nature…”
Ryan could have echoed his Republican colleague from Virginia, Scott Rigell, who has said: “My love for our country eclipses my loyalty to our party, and to live with a clear conscience I will not support a nominee so lacking in the judgement, temperament and character needed to be our nation’s commander in chief. Accordingly, if left with no alternative, I will not support Trump in the general election should he become our Republican nominee.”
Ryan could have acknowledged the concerns of his Republican colleague from Florida, Carlos Curbelo, a father of two who says of Trump: “This man does things and says things that I teach my six and three-year-olds not to say. I could never look them in the eye and tell them that I support someone so crass and insulting and offensive to lead the greatest nation in the world.”
“I have no plans of supporting either of the presumptive nominees,” Curbelo declared a few days ago.
Ryan could have said something like that. He could have simply admitted that South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham was right last week when he explained after Trump was dubbed the party’s “presumptive nominee” that “I just really believe that the Republican Party has been conned here, and this guy is not a reliable conservative Republican,”