The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Since he endorsed Donald Trump in June, Paul Ryan has denounced him roughly once a week

If we were to think of the Republican Party as a construction zone (an apt metaphor, some would say), its "Days Since Accident" sign on site would currently be at .... one.

Meaning, as of this writing, Republican leaders like House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) have gone a little more than one day since denouncing something their nominee, Donald Trump, said (although: there is a chance that counter may swing back to zero over the next few hours.)

In fact, since endorsing Trump in June, by our count Ryan has publicly separated himself from Trump eight times. That's an average of 8 and a half days, or a little more than once a week. My colleague Philip Bump made this chart to illustrate just how frequently Ryan has had to answer for Trump:

The speaker has sometimes gone much less than a week between Trump's controversial statements. Ryan tsk-tsked Trump's questioning of a federal judge's objectivity literally the day after he endorsed him.

Speaking at the GOP convention, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said the Democratic Party divides people instead of bringing them together. (Video: The Washington Post)

The longest he's had a break from addressing a Trump controversy since endorsing him was 21 days in July, including a week taken up by the Republican convention. Since Trump officially became the Republican nominee in Cleveland, Ryan has gone as little as three days in between Trump-lit fires.

Ryan and other Republican politicians repeatedly say they hope Trump will change. That he'll become more politician-y. That he'll stick to a script and champion more conservative policies and studiously avoid the temptation to say something that dominates the news cycle, takes away attention from Hillary Clinton and her emails and forces Republicans to be in the unprecedented situation of regularly rebuking their own presidential nominee.

But Trump won't change. Trump is Trump. And he's done nothing but spend the past 70 days or so -- and counting -- taking a jackhammer to Republicans' construction site to prove it.