Paul Ryan, one of the top leaders of the Republican Party, says he’s fed up trying to defend his party’s nominee for president, Donald Trump. One day after the second presidential debate, Ryan told a group of Republicans he’s no longer going to spend his time and energy defending the polarizing Trump and will instead focus his efforts on trying to keep a strong Republican presence in Congress. In a somewhat subtle way, Ryan’s words imply that he is preparing to concede the presidential race to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
CNN is reporting that Paul Ryan was on a conference call Monday morning with other Republican leaders, during which he implored them to do what is best for them individually, as well as their districts. This can only be interpreted as Ryan urging other members of his party to not allow Trump’s presence on the ballot to have a negative impact on congressional races.
Paul Ryan spokesperson AshLee Strong issued a statement to clarify the speaker of the house’s plans between now and election day.
“The speaker is going to spend the next month focused entirely on protecting our congressional majorities.”
According to NPR, Strong was asked if Ryan would take back his earlier endorsement of Trump but said that there was no update on the speaker’s position. Of course, Ryan saying that he is no longer defending Trump’s actions or campaigning either with him or on his behalf is akin to rescinding his earlier decision to support the Republican nominee.
Paul Ryan made his announcement about no longer supporting Trump on Monday, the day after Trump turned in what most consider to be a solid performance in the second Presidential debate. However, Ryan is most likely reacting to the video from 2005 that surfaced last week in which Trump was speaking lewdly about women and for all intents and purposes admitted to committing sexual assault.
After the video surfaced, Ryan quickly canceled plans to campaign alongside Trump on Saturday in Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin. According to MSN and other sources, Ryan also issued a statement on Friday in response to the tape.
“I am sickened by what I heard today,” the statement read. “Women are to be championed and revered, not objectified. I hope Mr. Trump treats this situation with the seriousness it deserves and works to demonstrate to the country that he has greater respect for women than this clip suggests. In the meantime, he is no longer attending tomorrow’s event in Wisconsin.”
Ryan then took things to the next level on Monday by continuing to distance himself from Trump, although in a more permanent and meaningful way.
Ryan’s thinking in distancing himself from Trump after last week’s video is that if Trump continues to falter, fewer Republicans will show up to the polls on November 8, which would hurt Republicans in Congressional races. Republicans currently own a 30-seat majority in the House of Representatives, but Ryan knows that can quickly change if Trump continues to alienate voters who would ordinarily show up to the polls and vote for Republicans up and down the ticket.
Many other Republicans have similar fears, as Ryan is joining an already long list of Republicans who have either distanced themselves from Trump or condemned the Republican nominee since the now infamous video surfaced. By choosing to focus on local congressional races, Ryan is hoping that the Republicans don’t lose their majority in Congress, even if it looks increasingly likely that the Democrats will retain the White House.
As one might expect, Trump has been unfazed by Ryan pulling his support. A Trump campaign representative told CNN that the Republican nominee is aware that some members of Congress may need to disassociate from him in order to win their race. Even without the support of a growing list of party members, Trump insists he wants as many Republicans as possible in Congress, believing they will be onboard with his policies once he takes office.
Paul Ryan’s actions on Monday make it hard to deny that he’s losing faith in the Republicans taking back the White House in November. However, his representatives insist that he is not conceding the election to Clinton. Nevertheless, Ryan is arguably the most important Republican leader to distance himself from Trump since last week, as the Republican nominee continues to lose credibility and support within his own party. With Election Day less than a month away, losing Paul Ryan’s support is a huge hit for the Trump campaign, whether they’re willing to admit it or not.
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