Speaking on a conference call on Monday to Republican insiders, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan dropped a party bombshell: all bets were off.
Though the Speaker did not say whether he had revoked his own endorsement of Trump, he said that it was each individual’s choice whether or not they supported the nominee. Additionally, Ryan said that he was done trying to defend Donald and would not campaign for the man.
This is a marked shift from where we were several months ago when Senator Ted Cruz was booed offstage at the RNC for refusing to endorse Trump.
Ryan and other GOP leadership have stood behind Trump for quite some time now, despite his repeated gaffes and missteps. Their support had always appeared lukewarm at best, but Ryan was ready to step out publicly with Trump last Friday when scandal broke out, stopping that level of their relationship before it had even begun.
This last scandal concerning leaked audio of Trump bragging about how he uses his fame to sexually assault women was apparently the final straw for many.
Ryan said that the most important issue at this point is not getting Trump elected, but helping down-ticket Republicans win and/or maintain their offices. Considering how bleak things currently seem for the party, it is very likely that Republicans may lose a lot more than just the presidency.
“The high principle here is to protect our majority so if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, she doesn’t have a blank check from congress.”
Over the weekend, changes were made to the official Republican party in order to combat this issue as well, diverting all fundraising dollars from the RNC which previously would have gone to Trump’s campaign to now head to down-ballot House and Senate candidates.
We think that’s as close to an un-endoresement that the Speaker of the House can get. Trump is now truly on his own.