Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan may have dealt a fatal blow to Trump’s presidential candidacy Monday, saying he would no longer defend or campaign for him, CNN is reporting.
Ryan’s hammer blow is the latest breach in Republican ranks, showing that the party still remains as divisive as ever, despite the U.S. presidential elections less than 30 days away.
Ryan’s statement has drawn an avalanche of criticisms from the grassroots and Capitol Hill, with supporters and party loyalists shocked that the Republican with the highest political office in the land might just have conceded defeat to Hillary Clinton.
House Speaker Paul Ryan insisted that he was not endorsing the Democratic front-runner and would still fight for the relevance of the party in the House and Senate. According to spokeswoman Ashlee Strong, the speaker will use the remaining days before the election to work towards ensuring the party maintained a hold on Congress.
“The speaker is going to spend the next month focused entirely on protecting our congressional majorities… he will spend his entire energy making sure that Hillary Clinton does not get a blank check with a Democrat-controlled Congress.”
Ryan’s withdrawal, which is a rarity in US political circles, lays bare the belief that some Republicans have that Donald Trump can no longer win the White House because of the controversies that have dogged him at every turn. In a conference call Monday, the House Speaker told lawmakers that it was every man for himself.
“You all need to do what’s best for you and your district.”
Ryan’s comments was said to have infuriated at least eight GOP members, with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus coming out with an opposing statement declaring support for Donald Trump and saying that “nothing has changed in regard with our relationship.”
Pro-Trump party members argued that continued support for the Manhattan billionaire was not negotiable because the congressional success of the party was tied to how well he did at the polls.
The man in the eye of the storm wasted no time in responding to Ryan’s position, tweeting that the House Speaker should focus on strengthening policy areas rather than fighting him.
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
Ryan’s comments come on the heels of a lewd tape leak Friday where Donald Trump and a news anchor made disrespectful comments about a woman. Trump dismissed the remarks as “locker-room talk.”
In a move that has been hailed as a “masterful performance” by his campaign manager, Trump diverted countered Clinton from making the issue the focal point of her attack by bringing women who had been sexually abused by her husband, Bill Clinton to the debate.
Trump and Ryan were meant to campaign together in Wisconsin Saturday, but the House Speaker backtracked when the controversial tape came to light. Ryan’s office refused to comment over the weekend about the House Speaker’s position over Trump’s unpleasant behavior, but came out with a strong statement, Monday asserting that Trump will not have the full thrust of the Republican Party machinery at his disposal in the final stretch to the White House.
Republican Dana Rohrabacher, who blamed the party leadership for panicking, called Paul Ryan’s move ill-timed and cowardly.
“For us to try to undo what the Republican voters did in the primaries would be a betrayal to the Republican voters who made their choice.”
Rob Stutzman, a Republican and long time critic of Trump, is not really surprised over how his party has imploded in the run-up to the November elections.
“Republicans made a deal with the devil, and when you make deal with the devil you end up in hell.”
For five months, Mr. Trump and Mr. Ryan endured a fractured relationship, but with Trump threatening Hillary Clinton with prison time and the likelihood of more lewd tapes in the offing, it seems that more Republicans might follow Paul Ryan in abandoning Donald Trump.
Do you think Paul Ryan’s approach to abandon Trump and try to win Congress is the right move?
[Featured mage by J. Scott Applegate/ AP Images]