While Donald Trump is the Republican’s “presumptive nominee,” House Speaker Paul Ryan is the GOP’s ablest communicator of core conservative values.
Because Ryan chooses his words very carefully, his comments yesterday to RightWisconsin’s Kevin Binversie and others should be heard and read just as carefully.
Ryan said the Republican Party needs to unite around the “bedrock principles” that long have guided it. That will be his principle message at Thursday’s much-anticipated meeting with Donald Trump and Reince Priebus.
I am stumped in trying to articulate a single conservative “bedrock principle” that Donald Trump has set forth in his campaign.
This means that Ryan has laid down a completely reasonable and potentially unattainable standard.
It is inconceivable to me, at least in the short term, that Trump can surmount what should be an easy hurdle. Doing so would require him to abandon or disavow things he has said regarding: (1) the Constitution and its protections; (2) budget and tax policy; (3) international trade; and much more.
If Ryan means what he says — I certainly take him at his word — the most that can be expected out of Thursday’s meeting is a vacuous statement that the parties had what might be called a “frank exchange.”
Conservatives owe Ryan a debt of gratitude for succinctly defining the fundamental issue that drives the unity debate. The measure of how tough a challenge Ryan faces was exolained unwittingly, by Trump himself. He said he was “stumped” by Ryan’s approach. He should listen closely on Thursday.