Former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is doing his farewell tour, as he prepares to leave Washington after only two years of President Donald Trump. The outgoing Republican, who has been a creature of Washington since his mid-twenties, gave his farewell speech at the Library of Congress on Tuesday and is preparing to release a documentary about his time in Washington.
Though Ryan’s future once looked bright, there’s no doubt in anybody’s mind that he was forced to surrender Washington to Trump. Under Trump, he accomplished tax reform, effectively giving billionaires the tax break they always needed.
On Twitter Ryan, wrote, “Once in a generation, you can convince politicians that the need for reform outweighs the needs of the special interests.”
It was in one of the tweets where he promoted his mini-series.
Once in a generation, you can convince politicians that the need for reform outweighs the needs of the special interests. That’s exactly what happened when we passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, one year ago this week. pic.twitter.com/7KdvMxgmxR
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) December 18, 2018
Of course, the idea that his tax bill was a victory over the special interests is laughable at best. Here are a few of the more jaw-dropping ways in which the “special interests” championed over the tax bill:
- Lobbying on taxes was a cottage industry in Washington during 2017 — more than half of the city’s lobbyists worked on tax issues that year.
- Tax lobbyists donated more than a million dollars a month to congressmen in early 2017.
- Republican staffers who helped write the bill quickly became lobbyists themselves and cashed in on big paydays.
And so, it’s not surprising that the general public had a tough time finding sympathy for Ryan as he flees Trump’s Washington. Trump loyalists largely saw Ryan as weak and not willing to buy into the uglier, nationalist parts of the Republican party that the president champions. Democrats hated him because he was a Republican and his let’s-do-tax-breaks-for-the-rich policies.
Online, as Ryan posted his final messages, the outgoing speaker was met with a resounding negative social media response. Angry replies to Ryan’s string of videos far outnumbered the amount of likes or retweets.
Here are a few of the more memorable responses:
Thanks for all you've done to massively increase the national debt. Much appreciated.
— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) December 18, 2018
God, you’re ridiculous.
— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) December 18, 2018
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) December 18, 2018
And now the public markets are crumbling.
— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) December 18, 2018
Wherever there's a move to snatch food from the hungry, I'll be there. Wherever a rich dude's boot needs licking, I'll be there. I'll be in the way men yell with joy when they're kicking the poor. I'll be in the way execs laugh when they feast and they know some sucker's hungry
— Tom Philpott (@tomphilpott) December 19, 2018
Please note: This is a commentary piece. The views and opinions expressed within it are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of IJR.
For an IJR Red response to Paul Ryan’s farewell, click here.