Two separate opinion pieces were released Tuesday with both coming to the same conclusion: that Republican Senator Mitch McConnell and Republican Congressman Paul Ryan are cowards.
The articles, written by Ezra Klein for Vox and James Fallows for the Atlantic, take parallel journeys on their way to consensus. One of the details both authors use to underscore their points is that neither McConnell nor Ryan have made any comments of substance in regards to the indictment of President Donald Trump’s former presidential campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.
On Monday, when asked point blank about Manafort’s arrest, Ryan responded by saying he had no comments “other than nothing is going to derail what we’re doing in Congress.” McConnell simply made no comments at all.
Both Klein and Fallows maintain that the Republican leaders’ silence on this massive issue is a display of cowardice. As members of Congress, Ryan and McConnell are supposed to play an active role in the checks and balances system outlined in the Constitution to keep the executive branch in check.
The authors argue that, instead of using their authority as Congress members to keep our country safe from a president who is willing to rule without sanction, they are doing only what is necessary to make the Republican Party appear strong.
There are past incidents which further prove the theses of Klein and Vox. Per the New York Times, before Democratic President Barack Obama took office, Mitch McConnell “had a strategy for his party: use his extensive knowledge of Senate procedure to slow things down, take advantage of the difficulties Democrats would have in governing and deny Democrats any Republican support on big legislation.”
As for Ryan, there is a recording where Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy alludes to Trump being in the pocket of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Moments later, Ryan is heard asking all those present during the recording to keep that information secret.
When coupled with their past actions, Ryan and McConnell’s silence on the arrest of Paul Manafort, the politicians’ allegiance is clear. These two men clearly value the Republican Party, and their positions in that party, more than they value the country and people they serve, or even the sanctity of the positions they hold. “Cowards” is only one of many words one could use to describe them.