In a news conference Thursday morning, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was asked about presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s move to deny press credentials to The Post. His immediate answer was unspectacular: “Don’t think I’ve ever heard about it before. I think that’s a new one. I don’t know a whole lot about it. I hope and assume this will get worked out.”
Then he did something that tells us what he really thinks about Trump and The Post. “Who’s with The Post here, by the way? Is [Mike] DeBonis here? [Paul] Kane’s here. Okay, last question.”
DeBonis proceeded to press Ryan on . . . Donald Trump: “This morning, Mr. Speaker, you rolled out your plan to . . . rein in executive power. Mr. Trump yesterday said this, addressing congressional leaders like yourself — ‘Be quiet. Just please be quiet. Don’t talk.’ What is your reaction to that and . . . how do you have any confidence that this is a guy who’s gonna have respect for separation of powers.”
“You can’t make this up sometimes,” responded Ryan, in part. He left the podium after riffing on the importance of “government by consent” and advising the press corps to call their fathers this weekend.
Point made: Ryan isn’t blacklisting The Post or any other media outlets. Since Trump clinched his status as presumptive nominee, his relationship with the House speaker has seesawed. For weeks, Ryan held off on endorsing Trump, only to declare that he’d vote for the longtime real-estate mogul. Following Trump’s comments doubting the ability of federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel — born in Indiana and of Mexican heritage — to adjudicate lawsuits affecting Trump University, Ryan blasted away, saying Trump had made the “textbook definition of a racist comment,” while still affirming his support of Trump over Hillary Clinton. Now we have Ryan repudiating Trump on The Post thing, not with his words, but with his actions.
The moment on Capitol Hill provides a good opportunity to check in on how Trump’s action against The Post is working. As the Trump campaign made clear on its website: “We no longer feel compelled to work with a publication which has put its need for ‘clicks’ above journalistic integrity.” That meant that the Trump people had, in effect, pulled the newspaper’s rally badge. No matter: Reporter Jenna Johnson got around the pettiness, as the write-up of a Trump rally in Greensboro, N.C., noted, “A Post reporter in Greensboro on Tuesday was denied a press credential but was able to enter the rally with the general public and watch Trump’s remarks from the stands.”
And just what story did Johnson nail down by mixing it up with the Trump crowd? This one: “Donald Trump calls her ‘Crooked Hillary,’ but his fans just say ‘b—-’.”