Ryan speaks at the SALT conference in Las Vegas, May 16, 2014.
Rick Wilking/Reuters

Paul Ryan on Ferguson: ‘Let law enforcement do its job’

It’s probably tricky for an ambitious politician to know exactly what to say about recent developments in Ferguson, Missouri. Especially in Republican politics, where the party’s base is responding to the crisis differently than others, striking the right tone is obviously challenging.
 
That said, this probably isn’t the ideal line.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) waded into the Ferguson, Missouri, controversy on Tuesday and said the best way to bring about resolution is to let law enforcement do whatever they need to do.
 
“We should take a deep breath, sit back and let law enforcement do their job,” he said during an interview with SiriusXM’s David Webb. “Let the investigation take place so that the facts can be taken as the facts, and let justice be done appropriately.”
Re-emphasizing his point, Paul Ryan went on to say in the same interview that it would be “disrespectful” to “try and attach our own personal political agenda to this tragedy,” he prefers to just “let law enforcement do their job.”
 
As those who’ve been following this story know, however, local law enforcement has been doing its job and the results have been extremely controversial. It was, after all, an incident in which an officer shot an unarmed teen that sparked this crisis, and police responses to the subsequent protests have drawn international security and unanswered questions about excessive force.
 
Jennifer Bendery’s report added, “What Ryan didn’t address, though, is that much of the current controversy in Ferguson stems from the use of excessive force by local law enforcement. A militarized and mostly white police force has been turning up nightly – with tear gas, armored vehicles and rubber bullets – to counter a group of mostly peaceful black protesters furious about the lack of answers surrounding Brown’s death.”
 
Speaking of Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican wrote an op-ed late last week conceding he was “wrong” to break up Americans into groups of “makers and takers.” The House Budget Committee chairman, eager to put a new coat of paint on his agenda, said struggling Americans are “trying to make something of themselves. We shouldn’t disparage that.”
 
But while the congressman has decided to change his rhetoric, Ryan has not decided to change his governing philosophy – the same op-ed touts his budget plans, which go out of their way to punish Americans struggling most.
 
What we’re left with is the latest example of Paul Ryan changing his sales pitch, not his policies.
 

Ferguson, Michael Brown, Missouri and Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan on Ferguson: 'Let law enforcement do its job'