It is not often we get to say that The Response agrees with Joe Scarborough.
We have been wondering — a lot — why Speaker of the House and Designated Keg Monitor Paul Ryan has had such an equivocating, milquetoast response to President Donald Trump’s giving cover to white supremacists in the wake of the tragic events two weeks ago in Charlottesville, Virginia. On Thursday morning, Scarborough and correspondent Willie Geist were wondering the same thing:
SCARBOROUGH: The apology tour for Donald Trump at some point has to stop, from Paul Ryan especially. […] At some point, you just have to call a spade a spade and say: ‘That is not helpful. That not only hurts the president’s agenda, that hurts the Republican agenda, and I hope the president will be more constructive moving forward.’ That needs to be said by the speaker of the House.
GEIST: And the speaker of the House should have been out front on this a long time ago.
OK, we do part company in one way with Scarborough. “I hope the president will be more constructive moving forward”? That’s the kind of squirrelly nothingness that Ryan has been spewing for two weeks already.
It is the sort of meaningless pabulum that allows what has been happening to get swept under the rug so Congress can move onto the tax cuts and budget-slashing that motivates Ryan to get out of bed in the morning. It is a phrase that lacks any sort of moral authority.
Scarborough, to his credit, did a little better here:
GEIST: For whatever reason, Paul Ryan seems to hem and haw. Mike Pence, I understand a little more, he serves at the right hand of Donald Trump and is carrying out his agenda. But you’d like to see a little more from the speaker.
SCARBOROUGH: And actually say his name when he equates white supremacists and neo-Nazis with others. Say his name when David Duke takes great comfort from the words of the president of the United States. Paul Ryan needs to step up and start doing that, not just for the sake of this country but for his own sake.
Ryan is uncomfortable being anything more than Paul Ryan, Boy Wonk Genius. But he doesn’t get to hide behind a budgetary agenda in a situation like this. Being the speaker of the House demands more. Even Joe Scarborough, an ostensible conservative, recognizes that.