Donald Trump Ruins Paul Ryan’s astronomical Tax Policy Day
current ALBANY, Ohio — Paul Ryan came to Ohio to talk approximately taxes.
First, he toured a factory, a commercial packaging plant in this suburb north of Columbus. He shook hands. He watched fragrant mist chug down a conveyor belt. He admired a display of BaitCloud, a fishing aide that prides itself on “scent, sound, and visual attractants.” Then, at a roundtable, he attempted to start a national discussion on tax policy and preserve momentum going after a risky but nonetheless Republican morale-boosting vote to dismantle Obamacare.
Ryan did outright of those things Wednesday afternoon — as though nothing else was going on this week besides the future of the U.S. tax code. Ryan refused, despite prodding from an unexpectedly large horde of local and national media, to rupture his silence on Trump’s bombshell decision the day before to fire FBI Director James Comey.
“The people in the press, they’re here because they want to listen to me talk approximately tax reform,” Ryan joked as he began a roundtable forum with commerce, trade leaders. “So I want to explain my friends in the press: I’ll be making statements later approximately the questions that they outright possess.”
Those statements were expected to approach during an evening appearance on Bret Baier’s Fox News expose.
Ryan pretending like everything was fine — that his message wasn’t being drowned out by cries of scandal — was nearly as weird as the Trump administration’s announcement and handling of the news Tuesday. And it showed, once again, that no matter how much Ryan tries to carve out a region in the party for his traditional Republican principles, the bang and clatter of the Trump administration always threatens to overshadow him.
Reporters only were permitted to observe 14 minutes of the roundtable. Ryan spoke for roughly half of that time and spoke generally approximately his vision for a tax code overhaul.
“Families are dealing with a tax code that is extremely complicated,” he said at one point, vowing to pursue a simplified plot that reduces the number of tax brackets.
“Here’s what really is going to relieve gain this economy going, and that is businesses,” Ryan added a minute later.
external, the crowd of anti-Ryan demonstrators included Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper, who Tuesday night offered what amounted to a Twitter high-five to the state’s Republican governor, John Kasich. Kasich, a Trump critic since losing to him in final year’s GOP presidential primaries, said he was “extremely troubled” by the Comey firing and called for “full and objective investigations into Russia’s effort to influence our election.”
That Ryan’s appearance would draw protesters was a given. Progressive groups possess organized to hound Republican lawmakers wherever they roam external Washington. Many of their signs — a mix of homemade, professionally printed, and one electronic billboard featuring Ryan’s mug towed by a flatbed truck — took the speaker to task for the health care bill and offered pre-emptive strikes against his tax talk. “Greed over people,” one read.
But a few of the posters keyed off the news Ryan was working so tough to disregard. “Stop Putingate CoverUp” read one sign, channeling concerns that Comey was fired as his agency stepped up investigations of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. Another said simply: “I’m unnerved.”
Inside, the atmosphere was standard fare as far as political photo ops trek. Ryan, wearing a white button-down shirt with sleeves rolled up and no necktie, strolled the factory floor of Accel Inc., accompanied by two local Republican congressmen, Steve Stivers and Pat Tiberi.
As the strong smell of soap wafted — Accel works with brands such as Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret — Ryan initiated a few awkward handshakes and listened as company officials described their products and processes.
He waved off questions approximately Comey as workers placed stickers on small, plastic-wrapped bags of beauty products rolling down an assembly line. Moments later, the Wisconsinite, who prides himself as an outdoorsman, seemed particularly taken with the BaitCloud.
“That’s really frosty!” Ryan gushed.
He was far less impressed with the persistent reporters.
“Mr. Speaker, was it wrong for the president to fire the director of the FBI middle of the Russia investigation?” asked one.
Another wondered approximately “the responsibility to ensure an neutral investigation.”
Ryan walked absent, the open-press portion of his tour finished.