Paul Ryan may no longer be a(n incredibly shitty) member of the U.S. House of Representatives, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take time to remember him as he was: A roughly human-shaped Jello mold whose defining accomplishment was managing to keep a simpering smile on his Eddie Munster face while working tirelessly to absolutely screw over millions of poor people.
With that in mind, I feel genuinely conflicted at the following anecdote from Team of Vipers, the forthcoming memoir from former Trump speechwriter Cliff Sims, an advance copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post. On one hand, it’s always nice to see a slimy dipshit like Ryan get taken down a peg or two. On the other hand, it’s President Donald Trump doing the down-pegging, so.... kind of a mixed bag.
Allow me to set the scene: After Trump conspicuously avoided criticizing the literal Nazis who marched through Charlottesville, VA, in August 2017, Ryan appeared on a CNN town hall where he gently criticized the president for having “messed up” the White House’s response. Trump was not amused, and called Ryan shortly thereafter.
Here, per Sims, is what Trump had to say:
Paul, do you know why Democrats have been kicking your a— for decades? Because they know a little word called ‘loyalty.’ Why do you think Nancy [Pelosi] has held on this long? Have you seen her? She’s a disaster. Every time she opens her mouth another Republican gets elected. But they stick with her . . . Why can’t you be loyal to your president, Paul?
The haranguing continued, until Sims claimed Trump said the following:
I remember being in Wisconsin and your own people were booing you. You were out there dying like a dog, Paul. Like a dog! And what’d I do? I saved your ass.
Sims also described a separate incident in which Trump got so bored with a presentation Ryan was giving on the GOP healthcare legislation—one of the president’s key campaign promises—that he simply got up, left the room, and started watching TV next door.
Paul Ryan’s gone now. Maybe he’ll return to politics someday. Maybe (hopefully) not. In any event, though, we now have yet another account of Ryan being a craven, opportunistic dweeb who kept getting dunked on by an angry racist for being too dweeby and not craven enough. What a legacy.