U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan speaks during his weekly news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept.22, 2016. 
Photo by Yuri Gripas/Reuters

On Trump, Paul Ryan’s new posture looks a lot like the old

From late Friday to late Saturday, dozens of Republican officials dropped their support for Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy, and many publicly called for him to end his campaign altogether. But even as the stampede unfolded, many watched House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to see if the latest revelations, including Trump’s comments on sexual assault, would be enough to prompt the GOP leader to finally give up on the controversial nominee.

It was not. Ryan criticized Trump’s remarks – a step the Speaker has taken several times over the course of the campaign – and said he wouldn’t appear alongside the White House hopeful at a Wisconsin event over the weekend, but the congressman couldn’t bring himself to withdraw his presidential endorsement.

MSNBC Live with Tamron Hall , 10/10/16, 11:24 AM ET

Speaker Ryan: I will not defend Donald Trump

Tamron Hall and panel discuss breaking news that Speaker Paul Ryan will not defend Donald Trump, and that his focus until Election Day will be keeping the GOP majority in the House.
People close to the Speaker told Politico Ryan “discussed” dropping his support for Trump with aides over the weekend, but ultimately did not. This morning, however, NBC News reports that the House Republican leader is trying to adopt a slightly different posture.
Hours after a contentious second presidential debate, House Speaker Paul Ryan told Republicans Monday he will not be defending Donald Trump or campaign with him for the next 30 days and instead will focus on down ballot races. […]

“You all need to do what’s best for you in your district,” Ryan said on a call with House Republicans.
Ryan spokesperson AshLee Strong added that the House Speaker “is going to spend the next month focused entirely on protecting our congressional majorities.”

And while I imagine this will draw some praise from pundits, it’s hard not to notice that Ryan’s new position looks an awful lot like his old one.

Ryan will no longer be defending Trump? OK, but Ryan hasn’t defended Trump at all.. On the contrary, he’s repeatedly and publicly rebuked his party’s presidential nominee for a variety of valid reasons.

Ryan isn’t going to campaign with Trump? OK, but the grand total of joint events featuring the two Republicans this year is zero.

Let’s make this plain: Paul Ryan endorsed Donald Trump and that hasn’t changed. Paul Ryan intends to vote for Donald Trump and that hasn’t changed. Paul Ryan believes, in 29 days, Donald Trump should be elected president of the United States and that hasn’t changed. There’s nothing the least bit courageous or principled about his “new” position.

Everything else is window dressing.

Donald Trump and Paul Ryan

On Trump, Paul Ryan's new posture looks a lot like the old