Paul Ryan, perennially polite and always respectful of his elders, was on his best behavior this week when he stood to take questions at a packed press conference in Washington. The wonkish, 46-year-old Speaker of the House had just concluded a widely hyped private meeting with Donald Trump, and for the next 10 minutes he would have nothing but kind words for the billionaire demagogue who has thrown his party into chaos.
“I heard a lot of good things from our presumptive nominee,” Ryan said.
“I actually had a very pleasant exchange with him,” Ryan said.
“He is a very warm and genuine person,” Ryan said.
“Good personality,” Ryan said.
This conciliatory performance was a far cry from the defiant stand for principle that many conservatives were hoping to see. A week earlier, Ryan had gone on TV and said he was “not ready” to endorse the Republican nominee — a daring little breach of decorum that drew the ire of the Donald, and briefly roused hope in the beleaguered #NeverTrump movement that perhaps they had a new champion. But Ryan’s renegade turn was not to be.