"Escape hatch": Paul Ryan quit because he couldn't bear the idea of working with Trump for two more years

Something for everyone here. For righties, further evidence that Ryan’s a wimp who’ll never understand why they’re far more excited about Trumpism than they ever were for modern Ryan Republicanism.

For lefties, further evidence that Ryan’s a wimp who finally found the stones to stand up to Trump only when he was safely out of office.

I mean, really:

It’s nice to have bipartisan consensus on something in an era of such bitter partisan rancor.

Now out of office and trading in his power suits for a blue vest, Ryan is back to critiquing Trump in unflattering terms in conversations with Alberta, who writes the former speaker could not stand the idea of another two years with the president and saw retirement as the “escape hatch,” in Alberta’s words.

“We’ve gotten so numbed by it all,” Ryan says. “Not in government, but where we live our lives, we have a responsibility to try and rebuild. Don’t call a woman a ‘horse face.’ Don’t cheat on your wife. Don’t cheat on anything. Be a good person. Set a good example.”…

“I told myself I gotta have a relationship with this guy to help him get his mind right,” Ryan recalls. “Because, I’m telling you, he didn’t know anything about government . . . I wanted to scold him all the time.”…

“Those of us around him really helped to stop him from making bad decisions. All the time,” Ryan says. “We helped him make much better decisions, which were contrary to kind of what his knee-jerk reaction was. Now I think he’s making some of these knee-jerk reactions.”

Yeah, clearly Trump’s going with his gut nowadays far more than he did during his first 18 months or so in office. At the rate we’re going, a second term will be completely gonzo. It’s the main reason to reelect him, really, to see what he’ll do once he’s no longer accountable to voters. If you like the excitement of riding in a car being driven at 100 mph by a guy who’s on shrooms, imagine the excitement of taking that same ride but with the brake lines cut.

Rarely do I ask you to read an entire story but this one you really should read. It’s a highlight reel of juicy quotes from reporter Tim Alberta’s new book about Trump’s campaign and early presidency, for which POTUS himself agreed to be interviewed. There’s more about Ryan, like the time Trump’s tweet about Obama “tapping his phones” sent him into a fit of “maniacal” laughter. But the best stuff has to do with all the stalwart conservatives who boasted in 2016 that they’d lay down the ideological law with Trump if he got elected, only to become the most playful of puppies competing for belly rubs from him now. Jim Jordan, Ted Cruz, Mick Mulvaney — they’re all in there, all vowing in various ways not to bend the knee and all laid to waste in short order. Mulvaney’s quote is my favorite:

“For five and half years, every time we got to the floor and try to push back against an overreaching president, we get accused of being partisan at best and racist at worst. When we do it against a Republican president, maybe people will see it was a principled objection in the first place.”

Should we conclude from their subsequent refusal to push back at Trump that their objections to Obama were partisan and racist? Between this and what he said a few months ago about how no one cares about deficits anymore — this from a guy who was known even among tea partiers as a hardcore fiscal hawk — I think Mulvaney’s passed Lindsey Graham as my favorite Trump toady. It’s often noted by Trump’s critics how strange it is that he doesn’t own any pets, but like I say, read the WaPo piece. He owns lots of pets, in fact.

One humble request to those pets in closing: Please don’t follow Ryan’s lead and start sh*t-talking Trump the moment you no longer depend on his favor for your career. I accept that he owns the party now and that all members of the leadership class must kneel before Zod or risk Mark Sanford/Justin Amash obliteration. (Amash has a good quote in the WaPo piece too, by the way.) But let’s at least keep up a pretense that this is being done out of principle rather than out of fear of losing a primary. If you have only kind things to say about POTUS today, have only kind things to say about him after he, or you, leaves office. I say that because I have a feeling we’re going to be absolutely blitzed with Trump attacks by Republican pols, some on the record and some not, if he loses next year. If they have something to say about him, say it now or don’t say it ever. At least feign integrity.