Rep. Jason Lewis (R-MN) stands by the offensive comments he made, and Ryan stands by Lewis.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) showed cowardice in the face of his party’s racism and misogyny when he defended Rep. Jason Lewis (R-MN), and refused to say Lewis should apologize for offensive comments about black people and women.

At a press conference Thursday morning, Ryan was asked specifically about comments Lewis made lamenting that he couldn’t call women “sluts,” and that African Americans have an “entitlement mentality.”

“Should he apologize for those comments?” Ryan was asked.

Ryan refused to say whether Lewis should apologize. Instead, Ryan told reporters that he used to listen to Lewis on the radio. Ryan claimed he didn’t “support” those comments, but dismissed them by saying that Lewis “was a shock jock, that was his job at the time.”

Ryan then praised Lewis as “an extremely conscientious man, a very hard-working… very effective member of Congress, who has been nothing but an exemplary congressman who represents his constituents well.”

Recently unearthed recordings of Lewis’ radio show have revealed a trove of disgusting remarks. On several occasions, Lewis disparaged minorities, including describing black people as having an “entitlement mentality,” and saying that black and Hispanic people are “addicted” to welfare.

And on one February 2012 show, Lewis wondered, “Are we beyond those days where a woman can behave as a slut, but you can’t call her a slut?”

After his comments about women were widely publicized, Lewis told an interviewer that he stands by them, and “would not have a problem at all going to the same discussion” today.

Paul Ryan has become the poster boy for Republican cowardice in the Trump era. Even though he acknowledged Trump’s “textbook” racism during the presidential campaign, he refused to call Trump out by name for praising Nazis. Ryan has also enabled Trump’s racist policy of ripping children away from their parents.

Now, Ryan is standing with an unrepentant racist and misogynist, instead of with the Americans whom Lewis has disparaged. Every American deserves better.

Published with permission of The American Independent.