During a press conference on Tuesday morning, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) responded to President Trump’s rapidly escalating feud with Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) by advising the American people to ignore Trump’s tweets.
“Put this Twitter dispute aside,” Ryan said, before expressing confidence that Corker will support the Republican tax cut plan despite repeatedly having his height mocked by the president. “All this stuff you see on a daily basis on Twitter this and Twitter that — forget about it.”
Ryan’s comments ignore that some of Corker’s strongest criticisms of Trump weren’t actually made on Twitter. For instance, earlier Tuesday morning, Corker told CNN that he regrets supporting Trump during the 2016 election, and doesn’t understand “why [Trump] lowers himself to such a low, low standard, and debased our country in the way he does.”
Ryan also are in direct conflict with Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who characterized Trump’s tweets on Monday night as “public statements by the president” and “an important tool that he has the ability to speak directly to the American people.”
Sanders was responding to a question during a forum at George Washington University about whether Trump’s tweets are “public statements that the administration can stand behind.” Her reply suggested they are.
“It’s a direct line of communication and it’s a way for him to tell America and the rest of the world exactly where he is on a particular issue or topic at any given moment, and I think that’s something that frankly people should be celebrating,” she said.
Sanders’ position on Trump’s tweets is similar to her predecessor, former Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who argued that his tweets constituted “official statements” of the president. What’s more, in a letter sent to Congress to June, White House legislative affairs director Marc Short argued that Trump’s tweets are official statements.
But with the Trump-Corker feud jeopardizing the GOP’s plan to slash taxes for corporations and the wealthy, Ryan is now pretending he didn’t get the memo.