How does a Republican official deal with Donald Trump? We’ve seen a few actively oppose him, several embrace Trumpism fully, and some have even tried to balance the benefits they could reap from his rise to power with their own consciences, claiming to fight to limit the effects of his worst impulses. Now, thanks to journalist Bob Woodward, we learn that at least one prominent Republican actually began to research psychological disorders in order to work with the former president.
Advance copies of Woodward’s new book, Peril, are making their way through newsrooms, and the tidbits that are coming out are, as expected, an incredible peek behind the scenes of the Trump presidency, and the effect it had — and has — on his party. Paul Ryan’s attempts to adjust to the Party of Trump have earned some particular attention.
According to Business Insider, the new book details how Ryan started reading up on narcissistic personality disorder after Trump won the 2016 election. He was the Speaker of the House at the time, and apparently did not expect Trump’s electoral college win over Hillary Clinton any more than most of the country did. Taken off-guard, he started doing research.
It seems a major Republican donor, a doctor in New York, contacted Paul and warned him what he would be dealing with, giving the then-Speaker links to medical journals and other materials.
It doesn’t seem to have worked out for Ryan, who openly embraced much of the Trump agenda, but clashed with the then-president over other issues, like his refusal to condemn neo-nazis after a deadly rally in Charlottesville only a few months after Trump’s inauguration.
The views fueling the spectacle in Charlottesville are repugnant. Let it only serve to unite Americans against this kind of vile bigotry.
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) August 12, 2017
RawStory reports that Woodward’s book explains how Ryan was among those who tried to convince Trump to condemn the violence, and white supremacists and neo-nazis, in no uncertain terms.
Trump wouldn’t have it, telling Ryan that he couldn’t condemn people who supported him, seeming to suggest that this was the best metric for their worth:
“Well, yeah, there’s some bad people. I get that. I’m not for that. I’m against all that. But there’s some of those people who are for me. Some of them are good people.”
Trump was widely criticized for his Charlottesville comments, in which he declared that there were “very fine people, on both sides,” but that both the white supremacists and what he called the “alt-left” bore the blame for the events, in which neo-nazis and white supremacist groups marched with tiki torches, chanted “Jews will not replace us,” and eventually killed a counter-protestor.
However, those speaking in his defense have insisted that this speech was a condemnation of white supremacy. Woodward’s new reporting seems to confirm that this is not true, as Trump was very clear about a refusal to issue a blanket condemnation.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com