Posted: 11:48 am Monday, October 10th, 2016
By Jamie Dupree
Worried by the fallout from a recently released video tape of Donald Trump along with state and national poll numbers that have been going the wrong way, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan told GOP lawmakers on Monday morning that he will use the last four weeks of the 2016 campaign to focus on saving the Congress for the GOP, as he told fellow Republicans to deal with Trump in whatever way it helps them win in November.
“The Speaker is going to spend the next month focused entirely on protecting our congressional majorities,” said a spokesman for Ryan, as the Speaker plans to campaign in 17 states in coming weeks.
In a conference call with fellow Republicans – which was leaked immediately to numerous reporters on Capitol Hill – Ryan did not drop his endorsement of Trump, but made clear that he’s done with the GOP nominee for President, and will not campaign with him again.
BREAKING: Speaker Ryan to GOP: Won't defend Trump now or in future, to focus on keeping House majority .
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) October 10, 2016
As for what others should do, Ryan left that up to each individual Republican running for re-election – for some embracing Trump makes sense, for others – it might not.
— Dana Bash (@DanaBashCNN) October 10, 2016
A person who was on the conference call said the message from Ryan was simply, “you all need to do what’s best for you in your district.”
“He will spend his entire energy making sure that Hillary Clinton does not get a blank check with a Democrat-controlled Congress,” that person added.
The phone call among Republicans came after a tumultuous weekend, which saw Ryan un-invite Trump from a Wisconsin political gathering, as several dozen GOP lawmakers in the House and Senate either dropped their endorsement and/or called on Trump to get out of the race.
If you sampled the social media feeds of most Republicans in the Congress, you might not even know that there had been a Trump-Clinton debate on Sunday night, as very few even noted that the debate was going on.
As for Trump, he hit Ryan on Twitter, but did not mention him at an afternoon rally near Pittsburgh.
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
Trump’s performance though seemed to stem the tide of Congressional defections that had occurred on Friday and Saturday, in the wake of the release of a video tape from 2005, which featured Trump’s vulgar sexual remarks about women.
As for whether Speaker Ryan will rescind his endorsement of Trump, a spokesman simply said, “There is no update in his position at this time.”
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.