Paul Ryan Won’t Campaign For Donald Trump

Paul Ryan is abandoning the Trump campaign.

Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan has told his fellow House Republicans that he will not spend the remainder of the time between now and Election Day campaigning for, or otherwise promoting the candidacy of, Donald Trump and will instead focus on holding on to the GOP majority in the House:

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan dealt a hammer blow to Donald J. Trump’s presidential candidacy Monday, dashing any remaining semblance of party unity and inviting fierce backlash from his own caucus by announcing that he would no longer defend Mr. Trump’s candidacy.

Mr. Ryan’s stance drew an immediate rebuke from Mr. Trump, who tweeted that Mr. Ryan should focus on governing instead of feuding with him.

But Mr. Ryan informed Republican lawmakers on a morning conference call that he would never again campaign alongside Mr. Trump, and would dedicate himself instead to defending the party’s majority in Congress, according to five lawmakers who participated in the call and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Effectively conceding defeat for his party in the presidential race, Mr. Ryan said his most urgent task was ensuring that Hillary Clinton did not enter the White House with Democratic control of the House and Senate, two lawmakers said.

The reaction from hard-liners was swift and angry: Over the course of an hour, a stream of conservative lawmakers spoke up to urge their colleagues not to give up on Mr. Trump, and chided Mr. Ryan for surrendering prematurely in the presidential race.

One member, Representative Dana Rohrabacher of California, attacked Republicans stepping away from Mr. Trump as “cowards,” three lawmakers said. Another, Representative Trent Franks of Arizona, used graphic language to describe abortion and said allowing Mrs. Clinton into the White House would end with fetuses being destroyed “limb from limb.”

In an effort to quiet the uproar, Mr. Ryan chimed back in after about 45 minutes to assure members that he was not withdrawing his endorsement of Mr. Trump, but rather doing what he considered to be in the best interests of the House.

Mr. Trump appeared indifferent to the distinction, lashing back at Mr. Ryan with a belittling message on Twitter.

“Paul Ryan should spend more time on balancing the budget, jobs and illegal immigration and not waste his time on fighting Republican nominee,” Mr. Trump tweeted.

AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for Mr. Ryan, confirmed that his sole priority for the remainder of the election would be defending congressional Republicans.

“The speaker is going to spend the next month focused entirely on protecting our congressional majorities,” Ms. Strong said.

Ms. Strong said there was “no update” regarding Mr. Ryan’s endorsement of Mr. Trump.

The open breach between Mr. Ryan and Mr. Trump concluded five months in which the two men have alternated between friction and courtship, eventually forging an uneasy working relationship – only to see it collapse in the final weeks of the race.

The consequences for both men are enormous: Mr. Ryan and other Republican leaders fear that Mr. Trump’s flagging campaign could unwind their majorities in the House and Senate, while Mr. Trump can ill afford rejection from more prominent Republicans.

Mr. Trump’s candidacy was already in a dire condition before Mr. Ryan’s announcement: A poll published Monday by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal found him trailing Mrs. Clinton by a wide margin and drawing less than 40 percent of the vote. The survey was taken before Sunday night’s debate.

Mr. Ryan’s huddle with House Republicans was the first of multiple war councils in Washington on Monday, as Republicans weighed how to handle a nominee whose campaign has appeared to unravel in recent days.

The Republican National Committee, which has been fiercely loyal to Mr. Trump, was to hold a conference call with its members later in the afternoon. In contrast to the mounting defections from Mr. Trump’s campaign among Republican elected officials, the party chairman, Reince Priebus, has remained close to Mr. Trump and flew with him to the debate in St. Louis over the weekend.

Ryan’s decision is notable for several reasons, and has the potential to have a severe impact on Trump’s campaign going forward. First of all, his decision is essentially a license for other members of the House Republican Caucus to do the same thing if they believe it to be in their own self-interest. At this point, it’s unclear exactly how many Members of Congress might follow in Ryan’s footsteps, though. Ultimately, it will depend largely on whether abandoning their party’s nominee is something that would play well in their own Districts or otherwise help in their re-election efforts and whether that benefit outweighs any blow back they may receive from Trump supporters at this late point in the General Election cycle. Additionally, Ryan’s move could influence other top level Republicans as they continue to decide how to react to the revelations about Trump’s comments to Billy Bush and other revelations about the candidate that are likely to come out over the next twenty-nine days. The Republican National Committee, for example, is scheduled to hold a conference call later today and while there’s been no comment about the subject of the call it’s likely that the future of Trump’s campaign, and the parallel campaigns to maintain control of the House, Senate, and state governments will be a prominent subject of discussion. Finally, the fact that Ryan made this announcement after last night’s debate, which some Republicans have attempted to spin in a positive light for Trump, is unlikely to stem the tide of Republican defections from a campaign that seems to be dying on the vine. The latest group of national polls released this afternoon, for example, show Clinton increased her lead in a national two-way match-up to         5.8 points and  5.1 points in a four-way race that includes Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, effectively putting her back where she was seven weeks ago in the wake of the party conventions.

No doubt, Ryan’s move increases the likelihood that the Republican Party will find itself in the midst of a civil war no matter what happens on November 8th, If Trump loses the Presidential race, ,which seems to be the likely result at this point, his supporters and the conservatives who have lined up behind him will blame Ryan and other Republican leaders as well as the “Never Trump” crowd inside the party that has largely stayed true to the promise not to support Trump even if it means a victory by Hillary Clinton. This is likely to only reinforce the anti-establishment views of those groups and make them more likely to use whatever remaining political power they have to block any chance of Congress actually accomplishing anything in the new term. Party insiders, meanwhile, will blame Trump and his supporters for forcing the nomination of someone like Trump when it was clear from the start that his appeal outside the base of the GOP would be limited at best. That war will only intensify if Republicans ending up losing significantly in down ballot races for the Senate, House, Governorships, and state legislatures. It’s a conflict that will likely make it hard to unify the party for the 2018 midterms and, possibly, even the 2020 Presidential race and beyond. Even if Trump somehow manages to win this race against all the odds, these defections and the infighting will likely evolve into constant fights between the White House and a Republican Congress that will make accomplishing anything next to impossible, and make it more likely that Trump will chose to follow in Obama’s footsteps and govern by executive action with very little oversight by Congress.

It’s far too late at this point, of course, but I’m sure many Republicans are wishing they’d nominated someone else at this point.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Congress, Donald Trump, Politicians, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. C. Clavin says:

    What a spineless turd.
    Either you are endorsing Trump, and sexual assault and misogeny and racism and ignorance, or you aren’t.
    My bet is that, like everything else, Ryan will give in before long.
    He is a Republican and a christian, after all; principles mean nothing.

  2. JKB says:

    Ironically, this could strengthen Trump among the undecided. It sets up Ryan and the Congress as a probable inhibitor of an feared excesses by Trump. Such does not exist for Hillary (or existed for Obama).

    So if you really don’t like Hillary, but fear Trump might be a bit rambunctious, the safe way is Trump with even Republicans in Congress in opposition.

  3. grumpy realist says:

    @JKB: But Ryan isn’t opposing Trump. He’s just refusing to do anything for him. He hasn’t pulled his endorsement.

    Good luck with that argument. “Yes, Congress will act as a check and balance on Trump as a POTUS and all his Executive Decrees by……doing nothing.”

    Some inhibitor THAT’S gonna be.

  4. CSK says:

    And Trump’s spokeswoman, Katrina Pierson, is urging all cultists to vote against all the down-ballot Republicans, particularly Ryan, in revenge.

    I suppose this means they want to bring every other Republican down with Trump and are sufficiently deluded to believe that an absolute ignoramus like Trump, using his dazzling negotiating techniques, will be able to persuade a Democratic congress to build the wall, throw every single Mexican out of the country, bomb the sh!t out of ISIS, rescind Obamacare, give Alaska back to Putin if Putin compliments Trump on his penis size, and send all the Muslims back where they belong.

  5. michael reynolds says:

    This is phony b.s., Doug. Has Ryan cut off RNC funds? Not yet. Has he rescinded his endorsement? Nope.

    This is gutless, slimy ass-covering from Paul Ryan, a man setting new and ever-lower standards for slimy ass-covering. What a nauseating display. And this is the Great Leader of the True GOP? The king-in-waiting? He’s a. . . well, let me put it this way: Trump would grab him.

  6. Andrew says:

    Does this mean by Randian philosophy, that if Ryan is against a Trump presidency, he then deserves all the rewards of/from a Trump presidency?
    Or is that just the welfare, public schools, government pay check and pension?
    Since he wants and has had all of that, is yet “morally” against them.

  7. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Good luck trying to play this one out in the districts without descending into civil war. You either repel moderates (by sticking with Trump) or you enrage the Trumpkins (by throwing Trump under the bus in an attempt to save your own behind). Either course splits your voting base and hands the race to your Dem opponent.

    My dream scenario? Trumpkins show up to vote for their Cheeto Jesus while blowing off the “establishment” Republicans on their ballots as a finger flip to the party leadership.

    This is how it played out in the 1974 Congressional races – Dem turnout didn’t explode. Republicans just stayed home in disgust and delivered to the Dems their largest majority since Roosevelt and the New Deal era.

  8. gVOR08 says:

    Ryan is endorsing but not supporting, or something. For the rest:

    Ultimately, it will depend largely on whether abandoning their party’s nominee is something that would play well in their own Districts or otherwise help in their re-election efforts and whether that benefit outweighs any blow back they may receive from Trump supporters at this late point in the General Election cycle.

    We’re clearly in rats/ship territory, not Profiles in Courage .

  9. Mister Bluster says:

    “Trump might be a bit rambunctious…”

    Putin’s Toady in St. Louis last night:
    “I know nothing about Russia. I know — I know about Russia, but I know nothing about the inner workings of Russia.”

    Donald Trump knew the Russians were behind DNC hacks—even before the first debate
    A senior U.S. intelligence official assured NBC News that cybersecurity and the Russian government’s attempts to interfere in the 2016 election have been briefed to, and discussed extensively with, both parties’ candidates, surrogates and leadership, since mid-August. “To profess not to know at this point is willful misrepresentation,” said the official. “The intelligence community has walked a very thin line in not taking sides, but both candidates have all the information they need to be crystal clear.”
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/10/10/1580483/-Donald-Trump-knew-the-Russians-were-behind-DNC-hacks-even-before-the-first-debate

  10. gVOR08 says:

    @michael reynolds: Nicely put.

  11. gVOR08 says:

    OK, Doug, let’s stipulate you’re a Libertarian. But James, aren’t there days your fellow Republicans disgust you?

  12. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Somewhat OT, but the Trump Taj Mahal closed its doors this morning.

    Trump, of course, no longer owned it, but it’s still a fitting symbol of requiem for his campaign.

  13. C. Clavin says:

    It is, of course, appropriate that Paul Ryan is being a pu$$y over the whole pu$$y scandal.

  14. Mikey says:

    @CSK: I ate a sandwich earlier today that had a higher IQ than Katrina Pierson.

  15. al-Alameda says:

    @Mikey:

    @CSK: I ate a sandwich earlier today that had a higher IQ than Katrina Pierson.

    Point of clarification: Was that sandwich with or without jalapenos?

  16. CSK says:

    @Mikey:

    It wouldn’t happen to have been a baloney sandwich, would it?

  17. grumpy realist says:

    @Mikey: That reminds me of the definition I’ve seen on the internets about the “Donald ” sandwich:

    on white bread

    full of baloney

    covered with Russian dressing, and

    served with a small pickle.

  18. Jen says:

    @HarvardLaw92: The RNC conference call was Reince asserting that they are fully behind Trump. So, all in. I guess.

    This should be interesting to watch.

  19. Mikey says:

    @Jen: So the RNC is “all in” but a non-trivial number of Republicans have come out saying they’re pulling their endorsements and won’t vote for Trump. Meanwhile the Speaker of the House has told the members “do what you feel best for yourselves.” Trump has thrown Pence under the bus twice this weekend but Pence is still with him 100%.

    Someone stop this ride, I’m getting ill.

  20. An Interested Party says:

    It sets up Ryan and the Congress as a probable inhibitor of an feared excesses by Trump. Such does not exist for Hillary (or existed for Obama).

    So if you really don’t like Hillary, but fear Trump might be a bit rambunctious, the safe way is Trump with even Republicans in Congress in opposition.

    Christ on a cracker, are you an idiot…how, exactly, is a GOP Congress not an inhibitor to a Democratic president…

    This is gutless, slimy ass-covering from Paul Ryan, a man setting new and ever-lower standards for slimy ass-covering. What a nauseating display. And this is the Great Leader of the True GOP? The king-in-waiting? He’s a. . . well, let me put it this way: Trump would grab him.

    Indeed…he doesn’t look like much of a strong Republican candidate for the presidency in 2020…

    Good luck trying to play this one out in the districts without descending into civil war.

    I’ve heard the not so tongue-in-cheek argument that it was a good thing Hillary didn’t knock out Trump last night as it allows him to remain the GOP nominee and lead to a Republican civil war…

  21. grumpy realist says:

    Seems to me that besides the Great Profiles in Courage we are (not) seeing, there’s also all the weaselly “oh, what Donald Trump described wasn’t sexual assault” comments which I sincerely hope will be pounced upon and used in interminable TV loops.

    I think men have NO IDEA how furious those sorts of comments make women.

    It’s also one of the reason that evangelical women are running away from Trump as fast as possible. They’ve heard that sort of excuse too many times in their own communities and they want no part of it.

  22. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jen:

    Captain Edward Smith, at your service

    I can’t say I didn’t just smile from ear to ear when I read that 🙂

  23. Argon says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Good luck trying to play this one out in the districts without descending into civil war.

    Admittedly, it’s about $*&#!! time for a civil war among the GOP. It’s long past due that they move to the middle instead of catering to the nutter wing.

    LBJ signed civil rights legislation knowing that the Democrats would lose the South for doing the right thing. It’s time that the GOP cut off it’s “deplorable” wing as well.

  24. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:

    This reminds me a bit of an anti-abortion rant by a Georgia congressman (I don’t recall his name) I heard years ago in which he said that the terrible crime of rape should not be compounded by the even more terrible crime of feticide. And all I could think was, “Sure, dude. Wait till your lily-white daughter is impregnated by a black man. You’ll have her up on a table with her feet in stirrups so fast it will make her head spin. And f#ck the innocent fetus.”

  25. dmichael says:

    @C. Clavin: Correct on both points: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/and-after-48-hours-it-s-over
    It is sweet to see Lie’n Ryan twist himself into a pretzel and now that they are “fully on board,” let’s see what they say when the next bombshell hits. Coming soon to a nearby TV. Popcorn, anyone?

  26. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Argon:

    Oh, I’m thrilled about it. We actually need a functioning conservative voice (of the Eisenhower / Alan Simpson / GOP pre- Gingrich variety) involved in governance. Before it all went off of the rails, the compromise which tended to be forced between liberal idealism and conservative realism generally speaking resulted in pretty good policy decisions.

    The sad thing is that, as I’ve said here before, I know a great many Republican strategists and political operatives, and to a man they’re all exceptionally bright people who generally look on with horror at what their party has morphed into over the last 30 years. They’ve just had no idea how to turn the ship in time, so they’ve busied themselves rearranging deck chairs instead. The imminent implosion of the GOP is the result.

    This gets us closer to the possibility of the the party rediscovering what it’s supposed to be concerned with and throwing the Birchers / evangelicals / looney tunes revanchists under the bus while there is still time. One can hope anyway …

  27. Hal_10000 says:

    I don’t envy Ryan’s position. If he undendorses Trump, he starts a civil war that ends with many Republicans being voted out of office. Just by not appearing with Trump, he’s already enraged the Trumpaloos, who will happily burn the whole country to the ground if they don’t get their way. He’s trying to manage a party that basically doesn’t exist anymore. Witness his Better Way tweets and videos, which would be great for the GOP … in 2012. This year, it’s like an alternate universe.

    Words can not express how furious I am with the GOP establishment for letting this happen. They thought they could reap the whirlwind. And, as a result, they’re going to turn the country over to the tender mercies of the Democrats.

  28. HarvardLaw92 says:

    LOL, this is hilarious and gets right to the point

  29. Mikey says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Plenty of Trumpists would watch that and ask why it’s supposed to be funny.

  30. stonetools says:

    @Hal_10000:

    nd, as a result, they’re going to turn the country over to the tender mercies of the Democrats.

    Sounds great. Last time the Democrats were in charge, they were handed an economy that was in the worst economic crisis since the 1930s. They turned the economy around by passing an economic stimulus program, enacted a heath care reform program that brought health insurance to 20 million people, passed financial reform that restored the banking system, ended discrimination against gays in the military, and generally moved the country toward recognizing gay marriage.
    There’s a lot more to do, and we would like to get started.

  31. JohnMcC says:

    @stonetools: A simple up-vote isn’t enough. Had to sort of step up and shake your hand over that. Well said, sir.

  32. Hal_10000 says:

    @stonetools:

    Please spellcheck before you post. You mis-spelled “passed a pork barrel package that did nothing to stimulate the economy”, “passed a healthcare reform plan that is collapsing into a death spiral” and “further consolidated the financial industry into a small number of banks”.

  33. dxq says:

    no, he didn’t, but you should work on the reading comprehension or source selection that got you there.

  34. Lit3Bolt says:

    @Hal_10000:

    I love seeing a young man with all the answers who thinks Presidents are omnipotent overgods who can control time and space to achieve their policy goals with unprecedented hostility and obstruction from his preferred party.

  35. Steve V says:

    @Hal_10000: spoken like a man who gets his facts from talk radio … after all, I guess.

  36. Stonetools says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Psychosis is a condition covered by the ACA . Get some help.

    And sadly, Hal is one of the more rational conservative commenters.

  37. Eric Florack says:

    So here’s some food for thought.

    Ryan was the one who taught Ted Cruz and the damaging himself by supporting Donald Trump. Then he bails out after that’s been accomplished?

  38. Jen says:

    If the GOP actually selects Robert Graham as the next RNC chairman, it is evidence that they will never, ever learn. I don’t know what kind of shot he has, but this is not the way the GOP should be moving if it wants to claw back from the abyss.

  39. Franklin says:

    @JKB: Congress didn’t inhibit Obama? I’m not sure how I’m even communicating with you right now, considering we are in different parts of the multiverse.

  40. Franklin says:

    @Eric Florack: There’s some sort of typo in your second sentence and I’m not quite sure what you’re saying. (“thought” not “taught”? “was” instead of “and the”? Even then I can’t quite make sense of the post.)

  41. Argon says:

    Somebody feels they’re running in a safe race this year….

  42. Blue Galangal says:

    @Jen: Robert Graham might be a choice that would, ultimately, splinter the party. Because he’s one of the “all in”, the problem is we’re not conservative enough types. Hopefully – after this election – the remaining sane Republicans will finally say, no, that wasn’t the problem.

    On the other hand, given the way Fox News is circling the wagons, apparently no one has yet had a moment of clarity to realise that pushing Trump’s many, many lies are going to run up against reality and the electoral college on November 8.

  43. C. Clavin says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Ryan was the one who taught Ted Cruz and the damaging himself by supporting Donald Trump. Then he bails out after that’s been accomplished?

    Have you been drinking all night you old ignorant racist?

  44. C. Clavin says:

    @dmichael:
    There’s absolutely no reason to think this is over. The next revelation of Trump being a scumbag who is patently un-qualified for office is just around the corner.
    The folks who jumped will be vindicated, and weazels like Cruz will be shown for the opportunists they are.

  45. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Franklin:

    Florack uses a speech-to-text program that doesn’t always translate well.

    The one and only subject on which I’ll defend Florack.

  46. C. Clavin says:

    Trump is now repeating Russian propaganda like a good little Putin-puppet.
    I’m sure we can expect Jenos and JKB and bill and Guarneri to be repeating this as fact very soon.

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/10/trump-knows-nothing-about-russia-repeats-their-propaganda.html

  47. CSK says:

    @C. Clavin:

    If Putin says “Jump,” Trump will say “How high?” I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone so easily manipulated as Trump. Putin pays Trump an offhand–and no doubt totally insincere–compliment, and Trump’s his devoted slave forever.

  48. grumpy realist says:

    @CSK: Putin probably pays Trump in access to Russian hookers, given Trump’s proclivities.

    “Provide him with enough tail, and he’ll hand over the nuclear codes”, is what Putin’s next gambit is.

  49. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @michael reynolds: Well, Ryan is certainly not in line for an essay in an updated version of *Profiles in Courage* for sure.

    the Republican Party will find itself in the midst of a civil war no matter what happens on November 8th

    So popcorn futures remain strong for post-Christmas and maybe even into the summer? Good to know!

  50. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @gVOR08: Darn, you beat me to it!

  51. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:
  52. Moosebreath says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    “Florack uses a speech-to-text program that doesn’t always translate well.”

    Proofreading what his program types and correcting errors would help.

  53. DrDaveT says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    This gets us closer to the possibility of the the party rediscovering what it’s supposed to be concerned with

    If they ever do figure it out, please let us know what that is. In my lifetime, it has been a sad hash of getting us into wars, transferring money from the poor to the rich, and whining about having to pay taxes. Oh, and screaming incoherently about abortion and homosexuality.

    So what is it all supposed to be concerned with?

  54. dxq says:

    looks now like putin’s trying to create a fake ‘nuclear’ scare to help his buddy.

  55. dxq says:

    this is interesting

    By most measurements, conservative white Evangelicals are Donald Trump’s most loyal constituency moving toward Election Day. He’s doing about as well as the Christian right’s very favorite presidential nominee, George W. Bush, was doing in this demographic in 2004, which is to say very well indeed.

    Trump’s most popular with the GOP base.

    Republicans should realize their voters don’t want Democrat Lite–they want a big talkin tough guy who’ll get rid of the browns and muslims, build a wall, don’t take no shit, and as the bumper stickers in South Georgia say, TAKE AMERICA BACK!!!

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