Paul Ryan Has Officially Given Up Defending Trump

Calvin SaundersOct 11, 2016

US House Speaker Paul Ryan, the nation's top elected Republican, told lawmakers Monday he will no longer "defend" or campaign with presidential nominee Donald Trump, focusing instead on maintaining his party's majority in Congress.

Donald Trump stands behind Hillary Clinton at the second presidential debate.

But Ryan stopped short of rescinding his own tepid endorsement of Trump, during a conference call with House GOP colleagues amid a full-blown election crisis for Republicans.

Republican members of Congress are anxious that Trump's campaign could ruin their chances of holding their majorities in the House and Senate in November and inflict long-term damage on the party.

"Paul Ryan should spend more time on balancing the budget, jobs and illegal immigration and not waste his time on fighting Republican nominee", Trump wrote shortly after news broke that Ryan gave his troops permission to run for the hills. The Republican party got the huge groundswell of enthusiastic, ecstatic support from Trump's disciples, and Trump got a national party apparatus for his candidacy.

"We haven't spoken and I don't agree", Trump said during the debate.

"Everything is on course", Priebus said, according to a participant in the call.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan, U.S. Sen.

"The last 72 hours has framed what this election is all about".

Sarah Swanson, an IN native who lives IN Anderson, S.C., said she was thrilled when Trump chose Pence as his running mate.

Pence said Monday on Fox News that moderator Martha Raddatz mischaracterized his position. Meanwhile, a pair of Northwest members of Congress were quick to abandon Trump.

Reaction to Ryan's decision illustrates the schism now splitting the Republican Party.

Several Republicans said Trump did well enough to stop Republicans from calling on him to step aside - barring further revelations.

On the other side of the Capitol, there were also signs that more Republican Senate candidates were moving to distance themselves from Trump. And he is advising GOP candidates "to do what's best for you in your district".

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"Donald Trump didn't become the nominee of his party on his own", said Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton's communications director.

But he did not completely cut ties to the NY businessman, whose volatile campaign has created the Republican Party's biggest crisis in decades. He said his observations "are immediately sort of spun around the world and I don't have anything to add on the presidential race today". However, in doing so, Trump has pinned his party underneath a boulder.

That's according to a person on the call who demanded anonymity to describe the private conversation.

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. Walker's spokesman said Monday that the governor would not be available to comment. A source said the speaker would campaign in 17 states and 42 cities this month.

The growing rift between GOP establishment leaders and Trump, who is now emboldened given his assertive debate performance Sunday night, has moved the party into uncharted territory in the final weeks of an already-volatile and unpredictable presidential contest.

But his office subsequently insisted he was not conceding she would win, AP said.

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