Dear Speaker Ryan,
I know that you need to support Donald Trump, your party’s nominee for president. I know that, as your party’s top elected official, you have a certain responsibility to your compatriots to advance a theme of unity. I know that Trump won your party’s nomination fair and square, and that you respect democracy.
I also know that you profess to be a man of faith and that you contend that certain principles and morals are sacrosanct. There are certain times when country must be placed over politics. I plead with you to recognize that wholehearted repudiation of your party’s nominee now is one such time.
I did not vote for you for vice president in 2012. I disagree with your politics. But countless pundits from across the political spectrum have labeled you as the conscience of conservatism, and I am inclined to believe them.
In my opinion, I do not understand how any compassionate, courageous or competent human being could still support Trump after his many indignities, but you still do. Still, I know there must be a line that, upon Trump crossing it, would vitiate your endorsement.
What if Trump denies the Holocaust? What if tape is released of him using the n-word? What if someone — a member of the press, a person of color, a woman — is murdered at one of his rallies? Would it be a bridge too far, then, Mr. Speaker?
Just since the last time my words have been in this newspaper, seven long days ago, your party’s nominee has reached new and horrifying lows.
A plethora of women have come forward alleging that Trump has sexually assaulted them. Your party’s nominee has responded by calling them ugly.
Trump gave a chilling speech in which he blamed the ills of society on globalists, the media and “international bankers,” a longtime dog whistle for antisemitism. The comments could have been confused for those of Father Charles Coughlin, perhaps this country’s most infamous Nazi apologist. Still, Mr. Speaker, radio silence from you and your office.
Most disturbingly, Trump continued reiterating his notion that Hillary Clinton, his Democratic rival, should be jailed. He has preemptively called our democracy a sham and alleged that the election will be rigged. You hold one of the most awesome and powerful positions in our republic. If you cannot defend the integrity of said republic, why hold the position?
The Republican Party, your party, is dead. What you do in these next, telling weeks will always be remembered, by you, by your children and by your descendants for posterity. It is up to you to determine if they are remembered fondly or shamefully.
Disavow your presidential nominee. Rescind your support of him. And convince your compatriots, the ones in Washington and the ones closer to me, such as Sen. Ted Cruz, to do so as well.
There a quote, somewhat trite, from the apotheosis of the Army-McCarthy hearings that is too applicable to ignore.
“At long last,” Joseph Welch said, “have you left no sense of decency?”
I do not know the answer to that. Only you do. It is up to you to answer that question. It is only up to you to determine whether or not you will do the decent thing and disavow evil.
Horwitz is a first year law student from Houston. Follow him on twitter @nmhorwitz