The speaker will win Tuesday, but the outside money and rhetoric reveal an ugly GOP turn.
At a rally here Saturday afternoon, tens of voters thronged to hear Paul Nehlen’s closing arguments. Although the state’s GOP primary is Tuesday and he’s bidding to upset the sitting speaker of the House, only about 100 people showed—despite the luminaries who traveled to this southeast Wisconsin district on Mr. Nehlen’s behalf, such as the performance artist Ann Coulter and film director Ron Maxwell, whose credits include “The Parent Trap 2” (1986).
If the mood was subdued, low-energy even, one reason was that Donald Trump endorsed Paul Ryan on Friday night in Green Bay. The businessman declared his support for “our speaker of the House, Paul Ryan. Paul Ryan, good. He’s a good man and a good guy. And we may disagree on a couple of things, but mostly we agree and we’re gonna get it done and we’re gonna do a lot of wonderful things.”
The premise of the relentlessly personal and negative Nehlen campaign is that Mr. Ryan is a bad man. And a question for Ms. Coulter, a Ryan critic who will publish “In Trump We Trust” this fall: Is Mr. Trump also now a god who failed?
Mr. Nehlen, for his part, has adopted so many Trump themes, grievances and style that he could be provost of Trump University. So it was somewhat awkward for TU’s founder to endorse the same guy Mr. Nehlen has tried to nickname “Lyin’ Ryan” and at the Janesville rally called “the head of the snake.”
But never mind. Mr. Nehlen continued: “He represents everything that’s wrong with Washington, and politics, and the media. Paul Ryan has spent two decades pushing bad trade for his donors and this terrible immigration, for cheap labor, and you see what it does. . . . Paul Ryan’s job-killing policies power down factory floors and bolt the gates of plants in Kenosha and Janesville but they would ignite the industrial giants in Shanghai.”
One Trump quality Mr. Nehlen lacks is the businessman’s occasional charm. About the only fringe Ryan conspiracy theory that wasn’t floated Saturday is that the winter beard he grows during hunting season is evidence of a conversion to Islam.Read the rest of this WSJ op-ed HERE.
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