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The Weeds: Trump’s business partners got stiffed. What happens to the congressional GOP?

President Elect Donald Trump comes to the U.S. Capitol to meet with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell(R-KY) in Washington, DC. Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Donald Trump's business partners often wind up regretting that they ever went into business with him in the first place. There were the drapery producers Trump stiffed, the real estate executives he refused to pay, and the other dozens of contractors whom Trump conned or ripped off in one way or another.

Trump’s newest partners — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan — aren’t looking for money. But they’re about to enter into a working relationship with the president-elect, with the hope that he can be used to rubber-stamp the Republican agenda they’ve long sought. Will things work out any better for them?

On the latest episode of The Weeds, Vox’s Matt Yglesias and Sarah Kliff tease out whether Ryan and McConnell will survive their pact with Trump with their careers intact. Matt’s prediction: McConnell and Ryan’s fates will end up looking a lot like those of Trump’s past spurned partners. (You can listen to The Weeds at the link below or — better yet — subscribe to The Weeds on iTunes.)

Here’s Matt:

I think we're going to find that there are some powerful individuals in Republican Party politics — Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, etc. — who feel like they are on top of the world right now, who felt a lot of discomfort in the summertime and the fall, when they thought this Trump thing was not good. They were really queasy about it.

And then Trump won — and that removed a lot of their doubts about Trump, and they are now riding high. Paul Ryan is tweeting confidently about Republicans' "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity.

But I think this will end disastrously for them as individuals. They may achieve a lot of their substantive policy agenda — Paul Ryan has a single-minded focus on taking income and in-kind support from poor people, and he'll achieve some of that. But I also think he'll end up broken and humbled.

If you look at Donald Trump's career, which is extensive, you don't find a single instance of a person who went into business with Donald Trump and came out on the other side of it feeling good about what they got. I don't know what will come of it.

It's very common for a new guy to come into town and you think, "We've been here for a long time, and we'll be giving him marching orders." It's often the other way around. And you add to that that Trump doesn't care about conservative politics; doesn't care about the Republican Party; doesn't care about having a reputation for a square dealer but as a "tough guy." And people will find themselves really discomfited.

Show notes:

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