Paul Ryan, former Republican Representative from Wisconsin and former Speaker of the House, decided to retire from politics and not seek reelection in 2018. But that does not mean he will not step forward publicly, or step in it, as the case may be.
When Ryan recently decided to extol the virtues of President Donald Trump in an interview with PBS Newshour's Judy Woodruff, his remarks got more backlash than backing.
"[Trump]’s not taking any crap. I mean, he’s taking on political correctness; he’s taking fights that a lot of people want to see fought."
"The forgotten man that he speaks to is a person that finally feels like they’re being taken seriously, they’re being paid attention to. And he’s concerned about their issues."
"That is the guttural core of what I would call the party base right now, the Trump base."
People had theories on who those forgotten men might be.
@washingtonpost Does he mean racists who’d been forgotten because they were hiding?— Nic Harcourt (@Nic Harcourt) 1561434305.0
@Newsweek They are "forgotten men" because they keep voting Republican. They get elected and literally forget about… https://t.co/R6NsMfZyoQ— janey v. ❄ (@janey v. ❄) 1561383342.0
@washingtonpost So he stands up for *checks notes* Paul Ryan?— Mark Benson (@Mark Benson) 1561412219.0
@noradunn @washingtonpost The forgotten racist is more like it.— annettebpink🌸 (@annettebpink🌸) 1561414176.0
@washingtonpost Uh huh. The sociopaths of the nation. An underappreciated segment given Trump's adoration for them.— karen munro (@karen munro) 1561410782.0
@washingtonpost No one forgot Putin. Paul is just another sycophant who opted out before his kompromat was dropped to Maggie.— Batman: Barr Calls Me An Enemy of The State (@Batman: Barr Calls Me An Enemy of The State) 1561412508.0
@washingtonpost Trump: for every out-of-work coal miner who has periodic negative thoughts about black people going to college— Amber V (@Amber V) 1561412208.0
@washingtonpost Trump stands up for ignorant racists.— Skeptic (@Skeptic) 1561410518.0
Some offered suggestions of people Ryan and Trump might have forgotten to remember.
@washingtonpost Does that include Puerto Ricans????— Lloyd Osten (@Lloyd Osten) 1561411215.0
@washingtonpost Oh really. What about those forgotten children???— JoAnn Walter (@JoAnn Walter) 1561416730.0
@washingtonpost He forgot about 2/3's of the country for crissakes!— MomWoww (@MomWoww) 1561410788.0
@washingtonpost I'm a woman, and I feel pretty forgotten by this administration.— DresdenRose 🐉🌹📚 🔍 (@DresdenRose 🐉🌹📚 🔍) 1561411117.0
@washingtonpost By "forgotten man" @SpeakerRyan means "white people"— Zack Hunt (@Zack Hunt) 1561410871.0
Trump's demographic is literally the one democraphic that is never, ever, ever forgotten in any election ever. Sho… https://t.co/noy7bslRld— Matthew Chapman (@Matthew Chapman) 1561412716.0
@washingtonpost O come gather 'round, you male sufferers of reverse racism and the brain dead women who love them. 🙄— In the Loop Lisa (@In the Loop Lisa) 1561414435.0
@washingtonpost mighty whitey, yes— a bloo (@a bloo) 1561410520.0
@washingtonpost How can we ever forget old, rich white men? I think about them and how they are controlling the pol… https://t.co/PF6bpZUQox— Scott Bond (@Scott Bond) 1561412146.0
@washingtonpost The "forgotten RICH man" ... #FixedIt 👍— DJ Spin (@DJ Spin) 1561410506.0
@washingtonpost Ah yes, the forgotten men: like the Koch bros, the Mercers, the trumps, the Adelsons, the Mnuchins....— TheDudeAbides 🆘 (@TheDudeAbides 🆘) 1561417345.0
@washingtonpost Oh that's so true! The rich, white, men in this country have just been so forgotten and abused. Not… https://t.co/lVVELKr4nT— Guardians of the Liberties... (@Guardians of the Liberties...) 1561424163.0
@washingtonpost White guys are forgotten..... https://t.co/A5hcBOawSj— Topper (@Topper) 1561416635.0
A few questioned if the interview was a joke.
@washingtonpost I thought this was from The Onion...seriously, why do you even allow him to be in your paper??!!— Valzbear (@Valzbear) 1561412081.0
@washingtonpost Excuse me?? https://t.co/qEtVxjdydh— Zaira Delgado (@Zaira Delgado) 1561411406.0
People also questioned Ryan's motives for making such statements now that he is retired from politics.
@washingtonpost Still looking for that lobbyist gig I see— Jason (@Jason) 1561410827.0
imagine no longer needing to say this kind of stuff for your job but then saying it anyway https://t.co/cCV6ZC6B26— Andrew Cunningham (@Andrew Cunningham) 1561412314.0
@washingtonpost must be the altitude Paul...hydrate and you'll stop saying such stupid shit.— Joe Lockhart (@Joe Lockhart) 1561412255.0
@washingtonpost I’ll take “How New York billionaires con the little man” for $1,000, Alex— Nate Roberts (@Nate Roberts) 1561425019.0
@washingtonpost Defending a con man like Trump makes Paul Ryan a huckster and lackey.— Michael Zee (@Michael Zee) 1561413267.0
@washingtonpost Says the man who's net worth climbed from $1.8 million to >$10 million during his time in office al… https://t.co/0tE5wro1xa— briguy85 (@briguy85) 1561412293.0
And while Ryan failed to elaborate what issues unite Trump and the "forgotten man," people offered suggestions.
@MarkHarrisNYC Ignore the misuse of guttural. Focus on what Ryan is saying: That 'forgotten man' hears Trump say he… https://t.co/43vjuYG4lv— Randi Doeker (@Randi Doeker) 1561423061.0
Watch the full interview with Paul Ryan here.
As for the "forgotten man" rhetoric that Ryan revived, President Richard Nixon used the same line in his presidential campaign. It is not intended to appeal to anyone new, but rather to speak to those core supporters, letting them know they are the real victims.
@washingtonpost This idea was absurd when Richard Nixon used it, and it’s just as stale now.— Turdus Migratorius (@Turdus Migratorius) 1561416983.0
But hatred, fear and self-pity are strong motivators. Especially at the ballot box.
"C.K. Justice was born in Midwest America to hard working blue collar workers. After living with racism at his public school and several jobs, he finally found his calling and joined the military in 2008. Currently working as a military instructor in the West, CK enjoys working with soldiers and Marines every day. CK's goal is to share his knowledge and skills to help make the world a better place for his kids."
David R. Morse offers Divided We Stand: Racism in America from Jamestown to Trump, available here.
"For many people, the rise of white supremacy is a recent phenomenon, but for those who are deeply familiar with U.S. history, it is not new. Quite the contrary. In this new book, David R. Morse, details how the "whiteness" of America came about and how it has become more prevalent from time to time, beginning with the founding of Jamestown to the current administration of Donald Trump."