While Ryan still supports Trump’s presidential bid, the schism between the senior most elected GOP official and the White House candidate was almost unprecedented.
Almost half of all 332 incumbent Republican senators, congress members and governors have condemned Trump’s remarks, and roughly 1 in 10 have called on him to drop out of the race, according to a Reuters review of official statements and local news coverage.
The Associated Press reports a Trump spokesperson says the Republican presidential nominee has a rally set for 7:00 p.m. next Monday in West Allis, at the state fairgrounds. The series of Twitter posts appeared created to stem the flow of GOP lawmakers who’ve said they won’t vote for Trump or have urged him to exit the race since last week’s release of a tape showing him using predatory language regarding women. That means he can’t afford to let the trickle of Republican lawmakers suggesting retaliation against him for dropping Trump grow much larger.
Trump slammed Ryan as a “very weak and ineffective leader” and complained in another tweet that it was hard to do well with “zero support” from Ryan and others.
But on Monday he appeared to have had enough, telling hundreds of fellow House Republicans on a conference call that he would no longer “defend” Trump, and instead spend the remainder of the campaign focusing on protecting the Republican congressional majorities.
Mr Trump also indicated that Mr Ryan would no longer be the Speaker of the House of Representatives if he is elected as the US President. That call came after the revelation of a 2005 video showing Trump making crude remarks about forcing himself physically on women. On Monday, Ryan did not withdraw his endorsement, but said he would not campaign with Trump and he urged other Republicans to do whatever was best for their own re-election. Ryan has also denounced Trump’s incendiary rhetoric on numerous occasions, going so far as to call some of his comments the “textbook definition of racism“.
The latest controversy surrounding the GOP nominee is still dominating headlines, but King dismissed it as a media stunt and, like Trump in recent days, went after the Clintons. “Those who are in red districts are going to win no matter what”. “The kind of election we really want to have is not the one we’re necessarily having right now”, he said. “These are all questions Republicans may have to ask themselves after November”. Ryan would need 218 votes – a majority of the chamber’s 435 members – to become speaker when the full House votes in January.
The president of both groups, Mike Shields, said Friday that with the GOP’s 247 House seats more than it’s held in more than eight decades, it was not surprising it would have to play defense.
But that number probably will shrink after Election Day, with GOP moderates among the likeliest to lose.
The speaker’s actions in the aftermath of the lewd tape’s release have been closely monitored given Ryan’s initial reluctance to get behind Trump when he clinched the GOP nomination.