Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) was, apparently, unaware that President Donald Trump was insulting him several times when the two spoke face-to-face.
Trump, Ryan said in a recent New York Times Magazine interview, frequently called the speaker a “boy scout.” Although the president was using the term in a disparaging way, Ryan thought he was being praised.
“I thought it was a compliment...[but] I guess he meant it as an insult all along,” Ryan finally relented in his interview. “I didn’t realize.”
Trump and Ryan’s relationship has been off-and-on in terms of how well they treat each other. In the final days of the presidential campaign in 2016, for instance, Trump tweeted out his disappointment in Ryan on several occasions, especially since the speaker had tried to distance himself from the GOP nominee after leaked audio of him confessing to sexual abuse was made public.
Paul Ryan should spend more time on balancing the budget, jobs and illegal immigration and not waste his time on fighting Republican nominee— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2016
But Ryan has forgiven a lot of the president since Trump came to office, including dismissing his frequent lying as being unimportant. He also disregarded a clear attack against Trump’s critics, in which the president had threatened revoking the security clearances of many individuals who voiced dismay with his policies, as “just trolling” them.
For Ryan to not see that Trump was making fun of him, though, even as the commander-in-chief has called others unflattering (and offensive) nicknames, is somewhat revealing of how oblivious the speaker is to Trump’s misdeeds. If he overlooked this obvious and mean-spirited display and thought of it as affection, then what other not-so-subtle subtleties did Ryan miss?
This, of course, highlights an important fact that many of us have now taken as a given, which we really shouldn’t: The president of the United States is a straight-up bully. While political insults have been tossed from time-to-time by leaders of both parties, Trump has taken things to new heights, harassing and belittling his opponents in disturbing ways.
We shouldn’t recognize this as normal. And politicians from both sides of the aisle should condemn this sort of behavior by Trump.
Banner/thumbnail image credit: Carlos Barria/Reuters