House Speaker Paul Ryan today laid out an interesting challenge to the Republican Party’s leading presidential candidate.
He said Donald J. Trump needs to condemn the politics and policies of the Ku Klux Klan, which Trump has failed to do with anything resembling clarity. The Republican Party, said the GOP speaker, does not stand for bigotry, hatred and racism.
He said he doesn’t know the speaker but expects to get along with him once the two men get acquainted. If they don’t, said Trump, then Ryan could have some trouble.
Let’s hold on.
As MSNBC commentator Lawrence O’Donnell noted this evening, the speaker of the House of Representatives has far more power than the president of the United States. Thus, the GOP frontrunner needs to take care if he’s going to “threaten” the Man of the House.
Why? The House generates all tax legislation. Plus, as O’Donnell noted, speakers of the House have the ability to make life quite uncomfortable for presidents. Think of what the House did to President Nixon during the Watergate scandal; think also of what the House did to President Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal. Nixon nearly got impeached; Clinton actually was impeached.
Donald Trump needs to learn to make nice. Then again, if he had any understanding of how government actually works, he would know better than to threaten the man who runs one half of a co-equal branch of government.