Interesting notation at the end of CBS’s write-up yesterday about Ryan’s interview on “Face the Nation.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Speaker Paul Ryan’s office disputes a section of the transcript. They say that Speaker Paul Ryan said, “about the deportation, I don’t support that as well. That’s not part of our agenda” not the CBS News transcript, “about the deportation, I don’t support that and he said, ‘Well, that’s not part of our agenda.'”
How often do you see a quote disputed when it’s been captured on video? And how often are the consequences from that dispute as huge as they are here? You make the call: Watch below from 3:00 to 3:15 and tell me what Ryan said. If his office is right, he’s making a pedestrian point that the House leadership doesn’t share Trump’s ambitions to deport all illegals. If CBS is right — and clearly they believe they’re right or else they wouldn’t have kept their own transcript as-is after Ryan’s office complained — then Trump himself told the Speaker of the House that one of his signature proposals is little more than a mega-pander to his populist audience. Ryan speaks quickly and sort of slurs the key bit right before “that’s not part of our agenda,” but I hear it the way CBS does. It sounds like there’s a “he” in there when Ryan’s office wants you to believe he merely said “as well.”
That made me think of the BuzzFeed piece from February alleging that audio exists of Trump telling the New York Times editorial board during an off-the-record meeting that his immigration stance might be more flexible than everyone thinks. Did he say the same thing to Ryan, perhaps, in order to reassure him that they can work together? It wouldn’t be the first time Trump’s public stance on something differed from his private stance, if you believe Ben Carson. Maybe Ryan absentmindedly mentioned what Trump told him here, then realized later that he’d goofed by revealing something Trump said in confidence and tried to walk it back by claiming a bad translation. If Trump did tell Ryan that mass deportation isn’t part of his agenda, that would go a long way towards explaining why Ryan quickly grew comfortable with him as nominee and ended up endorsing him sooner than expected. Wouldn’t be the first time Trump got something he wanted by telling an audience what it wanted to hear.
In other news, meditate on the idea that a sitting Republican Speaker, having just watched Trump lap the field in the primaries by running on strong borders, still flatly and openly opposes the idea of mass deportation. That’s no surprise given Ryan’s immigration sympathies but it’s surprising to see him seemingly reject the idea out of hand given the political climate right now. You’d think he’d hedge a bit. Exit question: If President Trump demands a mass-deportation bill from Congress, how strenuously will Ryan resist? Based on how timidly the party establishment rolled over for Trump as nominee, I’d guess “not very.”