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Does Paul Ryan think Trent Lott should’ve remained Senate Majority Leader?

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

There’s a facet of Paul Ryan’s opposition to censuring Donald Trump for coddling white supremacists I didn’t quite get to in my article this morning, but it’s neatly captured in this short clip of a Q&A he participated in at Intel Wednesday.

Ryan isn’t simply trying to spin you into thinking he’s not the central reason a Trump censure resolution has become “partisan.” He’s also attempting to claim the moral high-ground in the controversy, arguing in effect that the cause of opposing white supremacy is better served by not censuring a president who bolsters white supremacy.

I’m reminded at this juncture of former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, who was forced to resign after he celebrated the segregationist heritage of his colleague Strom Thurmond, on the occasion of Thurmond’s 100th birthday.

“When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we [Mississippians] voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years.”

By Ryan’s logic, Lott may have “messed up,” but the cause of equality would’ve been better served if he’d remained in power.

Post script: The man solemnly nodding along with Ryan in the background is Oregon representative Greg Walden.