The Washington Post editorial board strongly criticized House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) on Thursday for endorsing Donald Trump after arguing for months that the presumptive GOP nominee needed to rein in his divisive rhetoric and foster party unity.
“On Thursday Mr. Ryan capitulated to ugliness,” the board wrote in a blistering op-ed. “It was a sad day for the speaker, for his party and for all Americans who hoped that some Republican leaders would have the fortitude to put principle over partisanship, job security or the forlorn fantasy that Mr. Trump will advance a traditional GOP agenda.”
Ryan was one of the last holdouts in the Republican leadership to come around to Trump, saying in early May that he was “just not ready” to throw his support behind him. Many in the party, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), offered their support for the blustery real estate tycoon after he emerged as the nominee following Indiana’s primary.
Though Trump has done little to modulate his tone or demonstrate the commitment to “conservative principles” that Ryan was waiting for, the speaker published an op-ed in his hometown newspaper on Thursday saying a series of “conversations” with Trump convinced him he deserves his endorsement.
The WaPo edit board called the idea that Trump would support Ryan’s conservative agenda “fanciful.”
“Judging by his wild swings of position over the years, Mr. Trump does not believe in much of anything,” they wrote. “The convictions that he does hold — against free trade and U.S. leadership abroad, for dividing the nation by religion and ethnicity — are antithetical to the principles Mr. Ryan has said guide him. Having secured the nomination without Mr. Ryan’s help, a President Trump certainly would not feel bound by any assurances that Mr. Ryan believes he has heard from the candidate.”