“Well, to be perfectly candid with you, Jake, I’m just not ready to do that at this point. I’m not there right now.” (CNN, 5-5-16)It was a bold and controversial stand. As the top leader of the party, he was ensuring, at least a few days, including a big news weekend, unbelievable noise, probably more angst from allies and criticism from Trump than praise.
But for a party short on high-profile stands on principles, it may prove a long-term winner. Ryan represents a House majority that is endangered by Trump. In fact, more than half the record-breaking primary electorate did not vote for Trump.
Remarkably, along with general conservative principles and the need to protect Republican majorities, Ryan, when asked, took on Trump for his ban of Muslims entering the U.S.
“And yes, we are going to have policy disagreements. And on the Muslim ban I spoke out very forcefully on that, and if things like that continue and I feel the need out of conscious to speak out, I’ll do that. I hope it doesn’t come to that.”The American people do not agree with Trump’s position. A number of polls since Trump’s statement last November show more than half of Americans do not support banning people who are Muslims from entering the U.S. But Trump is highly unlikely to change his position. The same polls also show large majorities of Republicans do support the ban, and as new attacks take place, such as in Brussels on March 22, 2016, opinion tends to shift toward support.