On a Republican party conference call of Congress members, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan informed his fellow GOPers that he will not spend the next 29 days defending Donald Trump, nor will he campaign with the Republican presidential candidate.
From Huffington Post:
Ryan told members of Congress on a conference call Monday that they “all need to do what’s best for you in your district,” according to someone on the call. Ryan said he wouldn’t campaign with Trump for the rest of the election, but added that he wouldn’t withdraw his endorsement of the GOP nominee.
“He made clear to members that his decisions are being driven by what is best for his members, not himself,” the source on the call said. “He is willing to endure political pressure to help protect our majority.”
Ryan seems to be suggesting that he would unendorse Trump if he were on his own. But he’s also signaling that he sees a negative down-ballot impact for Republicans if he were to pull his support.
The conference call was held after a leaked video revealed that Trump had, in 2005, bragged about groping and kissing women without their consent. Amid a steady stream of Republicans unendorsing Trump, many party members are questioning whether they, too, should withdraw their support from the nominee and risk angering Trump’s base and depressing GOP turnout even more. Not unendorsing means forever associating yourself with Trump and telling voters that Trump’s behavior is still acceptable.
Predictably, the Donald struck back via Twitter:
Paul Ryan should spend more time on balancing the budget, jobs and illegal immigration and not waste his time on fighting Republican nominee— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2016