Lame duck Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan denounced Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential primaries but then inevitably swallowed his pride and embraced him after he was elected, making what his confidants called “Paul’s deal with the devil,” reported Politico.
Now after a year and a half of carrying out Trump’s bidding and making excuses for his shortfalls, Ryan has seen the light – at least on the issue of tariffs.
“I think tariffs are basically taxes,” Ryan told reporters today at the Capitol.
Ryan, who has prided himself on being a tax cutter, was reacting to the news that Harley-Davidson was going to cut jobs in the U.S. and move much of its production overseas – which would result in the closing of one of its main factories in Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin.
“What ends up happening,” added Ryan, “is you get escalating tariffs and end up raising taxes.”
Last year, Ryan chose the now-doomed Harley Davidson plant in Wisconsin to stage a press conference to tout the benefits of the Republican tax bill, which provides huge benefits to the super-rich and big corporations.
Now Ryan says the “benefits” of Trump’s tax cut bill are being undermined by the trade war set off by Trump’s unilateral imposition of tariffs – leading to inevitable retaliation by our infuriated trading partners.
“One of the reasons we did tax reform was to make it easier for businesses to keep manufacturing in America and export overseas,” Ryan said today.
“There are unfair trading practices,” the speaker added, “no two ways about it, by other countries.”
“I think it’s in our interest to use other tools to go after those unfair trading practices to stop other countries,” continued Ryan, “from dumping, from cheatings, from stealing…but I think there are better tools than tariffs.”
Now as Ryan comes to the end of his time in the House and Trump goes off the rails on trade, immigration and relations with America’s closest allies, Ryan is feigning remorse.
It is impossible to feel too sorry for Ryan after he spent all these months empowering Trump through his actions – and his inaction.
However, there is a certain sense of justice in seeing Ryan finally trying to get on the right side of history long after the corral gate has been left open and all the sheep have escaped.
However, he’ll find no forgiveness from us for his decades-long war on the social safety net and America’s working poor.