Have You Seen the Latest News? Paul Ryan Probably Hasn’t.

The House speaker always has a convenient excuse for not responding to Trump’s latest scandal.

Alex Edelman/CNP via ZUMA Wire

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

On Thursday, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was asked about Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, whose corporate-friendly tenure has been derailed by a series of increasingly embarrassing scandals. Pruitt, a conservative favorite who holds a cabinet-level post, has been in the news for weeks, and his lavish spending falls right in the sweet-spot of congressional oversight. But if the buck doesn’t stop at Ryan’s office, the news apparently does.

“Frankly I haven’t paid that close attention to it,” Ryan said. “I don’t know enough about what Pruitt has or has not done to give you a good comment.”

Well, okay, he’s a busy guy. But this is hardly a one-off thing. For nearly two years, pleading ignorance has been Ryan’s go-to response basically anytime he’s questioned about what someone in President Donald Trump’s circle says or does.

When asked to explain the difference between the sexual abuse allegations against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore (who he condemned) and Trump (who he continues to support):

“I don’t know the answer to that. I haven’t spent my time reviewing the difference in these two cases.”

On the indictment of Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort:

“They made an indictment. I really have nothing to add because I haven’t even read it, so I’m not going to speculate on something I haven’t read.”

On Trump’s threat to release “tapes” of his conversations with fired FBI Director James Comey:

“I’ve decided I’m not going to comment on the tweets of the day, or of the hour. I haven’t seen them all, to be candid with you.”

On Comey’s testimony to Congress:

“I didn’t clear my schedule for a hearing in the Senate today.”

On whether Jeff Sessions misled Congress:

“I would just refer you to the Senate Judiciary Committee. I’d check the transcript on all of that. So I can’t speak to what the Judiciary Committee transcript is. Frankly, I haven’t read that.”

On Trump triggering a minor international incident with China:

“You think I’m going to sit here and comment on the daily tweets?”

On the FBI subpoening Trump lawyer Michael Cohen:

“I didn’t read the article.”

On Trump attacking the head of a small union local in Indiana:

On Trump’s treatment of women:

“I’m not going to get into the day-to-day, up and down of this campaign”

On Trump’s support for torture:

“I’m not going to take the bait this morning”

On the incredibly optimistic growth projections in the Trump budget, which he supported:

“I haven’t seen the details yet.”

On a flurry of reports about Trump’s treatment of women (again):

“Forget about the buzz of the day, and forget what Twitter storm is going on, I don’t know, in the last 20 minutes”

On Trump, at a 2017 roast:

“Every morning I wake up in my office and I scroll through Twitter to see which tweets I will have to pretend I didn’t see later on.”

Someone buy this man a magazine subscription!

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

We have about a $200,000 funding gap and less than a week to go in our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, this week so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

We have about a $200,000 funding gap and less than a week to go in our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, this week so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate