The Corner

Politics & Policy

Ryan Talked Policy, but Character Counts, Too

Paul Ryan did a good job walking a tightrope today after his meeting with Donald Trump — but there are some things he could not say but which nonetheless beg to be said, regarding the obstacles in the way of a Ryan endorsement of the silver-spoon con man.

Again and again in his press conference today, Ryan talked about the need to agree to disagree on certain policy issues while finding ”principles” he and Trump can support together. The problem is, that made it sound as if the only problem with the idea of a Trump presidency is that it might run afoul of philosophical/ideological purity.

Yet even if Trump said tomorrow that he would embrace every word of the 2012 Republican platform (a promise that, like all Trump pledges, would probably have a half-life shorter than that of his pal Vladimir Putin’s Polonium-210), that still would not make Trump acceptable for the presidency. Simply put: Character counts, and Trump entirely lacks it.

Of course there have been some highly imperfect people to occupy the Oval Office. But none of their character defects were as readily, overwhelmingly apparent — or, in most cases, anywhere near as serious — as Trump’s.

Trump isn’t just a serial adulterer, but brags about it. Trump isn’t just somebody who looks away when white supremacists make common cause with him; he encourages them, openly retweets their vile messages, and declines numerous requests to disavow them. Trump doesn’t just use sketchy dodges to avoid military service; he insults the service of POWs, takes legal action against veterans trying to hawk street wares outside of his buildings, and says this his equivalent of Vietnam was negotiating the 1970s without contracting venereal disease. Trump openly incites violence at his rallies, doubles down on vile smears of female journalists who complain (rightly) about being improperly grabbed and jolted by his campaign manager, lies with such abandon that media fact checkers literally have trouble keeping up, says the best way to seduce women is to treat them “like sh**,” pretends to have opposed a war he supported, likens one opponent to a child molester, insults the looks of the wife of another opponent, and accuses the same candidate’s father of collaboration with JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.

Trump spends an entire career trampling the “ordinary Joe,” tries to force grandmothers and family restaurants off their properties so he can have more room to park limousines, stands believably accused of stiffing immigrant workers (legal and otherwise) of their pensions and other earned payments, curses in public like he’s in a Quentin Tarantino movie, and even suggests that the wives and children of terrorists be deliberately targeted for death.

This list could go on almost forever.

Trump is morally, experientially, temperamentally, attitudinally and philosophically unfit for the Oval Office.

There must, and will, be another conservative option to him or Hillary Clinton.

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