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Saved Stories – None: Opinion | Was That Ride on the Trump Train Worth It?


Paul Ryan, the former House speaker, had his dash up the career ladder disrupted. Under Mr. Trump, Mr. Ryan oversaw an explosion of the national debt, ruining his image as a fiscally disciplined wonderwonk. He was also constantly beaten up by Mr. Trump, even as he indulged the president’s worst impulses. Rather than wait around for his party to get trounced in the midterms, Mr. Ryan announced in April 2018 that he would not run again.

The carnage stretches beyond the government. The National Rifle Association and its longtime frontman, Wayne LaPierre, spent truckloads of cash getting Mr. Trump elected in 2016. In return? The group has spent the Trump era rent by infighting and plagued by possibly existential legal and financial troubles.

One of Mr. Trump’s most zealous evangelical supporters, Jerry Falwell Jr., was recently nudged out as head of Liberty University following a sex scandal that included his wife and a former pool attendant. The university’s board has announced an investigation of the school’s operations under Mr. Falwell.

More broadly, the entire white evangelical brand has been soiled as even many people of faith question this demographic’s unwavering devotion to a president of such moral … flexibility.

A more personal loss for Mr. Trump may be the defenestration of David Pecker. As the head of American Media, The National Enquirer’s parent company, Mr. Pecker promoted Mr. Trump’s political career: slathering him with praise, denigrating his opponents and doing “catch and kill,” burying potentially damaging news. Some of Mr. Pecker’s tactics drew legal scrutiny. Last month, Mr. Pecker was bumped from leadership of American Media, recently renamed A360Media, to the post of “executive adviser.”

Though much of the conservative news media has flourished in the Trump era, a couple of players have overstepped. Trish Regan went so far into coronavirus-response-is-aimed-at-bringing-down-the-president nuttiness that Fox Business put her show on indefinite “hiatus.” John Solomon, formerly of The Hill newspaper, was once considered a serious journalist. Now, he may be best remembered as a peddler of the Hunter Biden-Ukraine conspiracy.

Speaking of reputational harm, no one is exactly sure what’s going on with Kanye West’s bizarre presidential bid, which is being aided and abetted by Republicans. But there’s a widespread concern that Mr. West, a Trump-loving rap star who suffers from bipolar disorder, is being grossly exploited.

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