On CBS This Morning, Gayle King asked Paul Ryan how President Trump can promise that his tax-cut plan won’t benefit him personally when the public can’t see Trump’s tax returns. Ryan replied with uproarious laughter. “I don’t know the answer to your question, Gayle! Heh!” Ryan chuckled, throwing up his hands. “I don’t know exactly how his businesses are structured!” he said, continuing to laugh and shrug his shoulders at the great mystery of it.
Funny story: It actually would be possible to find out the answer to this question! The House of Representatives could vote to compel the release of the tax returns. Democrats in the House have brought up a series of votes to do this. And Ryan has blocked these votes over and over and over and over again.
Ryan has evaded accountability for Trump’s disturbing patterns of behavior, and his defenders ask what he’s supposed to do, exactly. Here’s a case where Ryan exerts direct control over the matter, and Trump is able to violate a long-standing governing norm only because Ryan chooses to permit it. It’s almost as if Ryan doesn’t want America to know how much Trump would personally benefit from the tax cuts Ryan is desperate to pass.