Ryan’s Dance With Trump

Before Trump’s last two Republican rivals dropped out of the presidential race, House Speaker Paul Ryan had critiqued him for his position on banning Muslims from entering the U.S. and his hesitancy to denounce support from the KKK. The Washington news media was on high alert when the two of them met on May 12th in a supposed attempt to iron out their differences. But no endorsement of Trump was forthcoming from Ryan. Today, they talked on the phone, but still no endorsement.

This little dance has been interesting to observe. It looks as if Trump is courting Ryan – something we haven’t seen him do with anybody else. As we observed this week with his attack on Gov. Susana Martinez, he usually comes out swinging when Republicans fail to fall in line.

I have no idea what Ryan is up to. But he should probably keep up the dance and pay attention to this:

As others have noted, Trump really isn’t that interested in winning the support of fellow politicians. He is a bully, and what he craves is their submission. Once Chris Christie endorsed him, Trump took visible joy in treating the New Jersey governor as a personal lackey, publicly poking fun at his weight and even telling him that he could no longer eat Oreos. When Rick Perry endorsed Trump and offered himself as a potential vice president, Trump could barely contain his glee. “He said the worst things about me,” Trump chortled after Perry’s statement. “This politics is a dirty business, I have to tell you. And I’ve never seen people able to pivot like politicians.”

If and when Paul Ryan succumbs, the speaker can expect Trump to perform the same kind of victory dance over his fallen body, because he has no respect for anybody other than himself.

It’s not just politicians that Trump treats this way. He was basically doing the same thing to the voters who support him when he said that he could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and they’d stick with him. He was accusing his supporters of not having the intelligence and/or morals to object to cold-blooded murder.

There are a lot of ugly aspects to Donald Trump’s personality, but this might be the worst. His attachment to dominance doesn’t end when he “wins.” Instead, he seems intent on humiliating the ones who have been conquered into complete submission.

Far be it from me to shed any tears over how Trump has treated people like Christie and Perry – or how he will likely respond when Ryan ultimately endorses him. I’ll simply note that this is the kind of person who needs therapeutic intervention – not an endorsement in his quest to be POTUS.

Update: A twitter friend suggested that Ryan and Trump are dancing the pasodoble.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .