Readers React: Paul Ryan lacks the moral credibility to lead the GOP after Trump

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan announces his retirement on April 11.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan announces his retirement on April 11.
(Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images)

To the editor: Dan Schnur’s interpretation of outgoing House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) as a “real” conservative with “real” ideas ignores several of Ryan’s shortcomings. (“A post-Trump GOP might emerge from a Ryan Underground,” Opinion, April 16)

Ryan is no intellectual leader. His singular goal is to reduce government at any cost, except when it benefits the elite. Schnur applauds Ryan’s commitment to fiscal responsibility and deficit reduction, but ignores Ryan’s disdain for any program to help citizens in need.

On this front, Ryan rarely meets a challenging question with an answer. His modus operandi when facing constituents who criticize his social policies (the nun on his false commitment to the teachings of Catholicism about the poor, the rabbi on Charlottesville, the Sikh who lost his father to gun violence — all at a town hall meeting in Wisconsin) is to smile and make friendly but vapid comments.


Further, Ryan is not simply “too closely tethered to Trump.” Rather, he has displayed no ethical backbone dealing with the president.

None of this is a recipe for leadership in the “after-Trump” era.

Marleen C. Pugach, Culver City


To the editor: I have been a registered Republican since I turned 21, 52 years ago, and I have considered leaving the GOP since Trump’s election.

The issues that Ryan railed against when Barack Obama was president — the budget deficit and the administration’s weakness on Syria and Russia, to name a few — are some of the fights Ryan abandoned under Trump.

Ryan alludes to being a principled and religious man, although there is little evidence for this. He sold his soul to Trump, big corporations and the wealthy on the tax law he promoted, and his refusal to protect special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and rein in House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) betray a lack of a moral code. His goal of cutting Medicare and Social Security in the face of tax cuts is shameful.

If Ryan is the future of the GOP, I will become a Democrat.

Michael Hoevel, Oxnard


To the editor: Schnur believes Ryan was “fiercely committed to fiscal responsibility and deficit reduction.” In fact, Ryan’s tax policies always had the double whammy of never adding up while punishing those with the least to benefit the very few with the most.

He perpetuated the lie that Social Security and Medicare were responsible for the deficit, even though each has its own dedicated stream of revenue. He advocated for corporate welfare and lower taxes for the wealthy to be paid for by targeting food stamps and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

To borrow the words of the late Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edwin O’Connor, Ryan is “as fine a man as ever robbed the helpless.” If he’s the Republican Party’s new face, it deserves to stay in the wilderness for 40 years.

John Gallogly, Los Angeles

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