Sarah Palin Targets Paul Ryan Over Refusal To Endorse Donald Trump

Sarah Palin, who was among the early endorsers of Donald Trump, is now saying that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan must be defeated because of his unwillingness to immediately jump on the Donald Trump bandwagon:

Sarah Palin will work to defeat House Speaker Paul Ryan by backing his primary opponent in Wisconsin, the former Alaska governor told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

Palin said in an interview that airs Sunday on “State of the Union” that her decision was sparked by Ryan’s bombshell announcement to Tapper last week that he wasn’t yet ready to support Donald Trump, the Republican presumptive nominee. Palin endorsed Trump back in January.

“I think Paul Ryan is soon to be ‘Cantored,’ as in Eric Cantor,” Palin said, referring to the former Republican House majority leader who was ousted in a shocking upset in 2014 when challenger Dave Brat ran to his right in a Virginia primary.

“His political career is over but for a miracle because he has so disrespected the will of the people, and as the leader of the GOP, the convention, certainly he is to remain neutral, and for him to already come out and say who he will not support is not a wise decision of his,” Palin continued.

Ryan’s announcement highlighted a deepening rift in the party over Trump, as several party elders have vowed to skip the GOP convention in July and not vote for the real estate magnate, while others say they’ll back Trump out of party loyalty and a desire to block Hillary Clinton from reaching the White House.

Palin speculated that Ryan’s announcement was driven out by a desire to seek the White House in 2020.

“If the GOP were to win now, that wouldn’t bode well for his chances in 2020, and that’s what he’s shooting for,” Palin said.
Ryan, who has repeatedly ruled out a 2016 bid, has not publicly commented on whether he’ll seek the White House in 2020. But he told CNN’s Dana Bash in October that if he were to ever seek the presidency, 2016 would have been his year to do so.

Ryan’s primary opponent, Paul Nehlen, endorsed Trump soon after Ryan’s announcement last week. Palin told Tapper that although she hasn’t yet informed Nehlen that she’s endorsing him, “I will do whatever I can for Paul Nehlen.”

“This man is a hard-working guy, so in touch with the people,” Palin said. “Paul Ryan and his ilk, their problem is they have become so disconnected by the people whom they are elected to represent.”

It is no surprise that Palin, who has become something of a Trump lap dog since endorsing him in January would jump all over Ryan for failing to obsequiously bow to Trump fast enough. As for the challenge to Ryan, it’s worth noting that Ted Cruz beat Donald Trump by nearly 30,000 votes in Ryan’s First Congressional District when voters there had the chance to voice their opinion. Given that, one doubts that attacks on Ryan that are centered on his refusal to immediately jump on the “Trump Train” as it is being called are going to have much of an impact on what is likely to be a very easy August 9th primary for Ryan’s seat. In any case, one seriously doubts that voters in Wisconsin are going to care much about what Palin thinks about the matter in any case.

FILED UNDER: 2016 Election, The Presidency, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held 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 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Mark Ivey says:

    Cantor Ryan! You betcha… :))

  2. James Pearce says:

    Please proceed, Half-term Governor.

    (Seriously, has there been a better demonstration of “poisoning the well” than what Trump is doing to the Republicans?)

  3. wr says:

    Wow, the Grifter takes on the Fraud in a cage match for the ages…

  4. Tillman says:

    “I think Paul Ryan is soon to be ‘Cantored,’ as in Eric Cantor,” Palin said

    I’m…so glad she clarified that.

  5. Sleeping Dog says:

    Hey when your whole life consists of jumping up and down screaming look at me, look at me, threatening the Speaker is par. Once again her antics draw attention.

  6. david says:

    @Tillman: Given her fanbase, she pretty much has to.

  7. al-Ameda says:

    She just keeps giving. She’s the best.

  8. grumpy realist says:

    Sarah, why don’t you do home and babysit your grandkids and (try to) keep your kids out of trouble? You’re irrelevant at this point.

    (She also is starting to physically look like a total hag. I wonder how longer her fanbois are going to stick around?)

  9. Gustopher says:

    And now Paul Ryan looks a little more centrist. If Sarah Palin criticizes him then the media which inexplicably loves him will go on another round of “Paul Ryan is a bold-thinking policy wonk who takes flak from the left and the right”.

  10. Lit3Bolt says:

    Paul Ryan is in a bind. He can’t fluff Trump, as then the media will turn on him. He can’t totally disavow him either, as the Republican primary voters will turn on him.

    With his massive corporate media support (He wants to cut taxes and entitlements! He’s so SMART!), he’ll almost certainly prevail, but this will definitely make him sweat.

  11. Barry says:

    Ah, the smell of (well attempted) fratricide amongst one’s enemies.

  12. Hal_10000 says:

    So lemme think about this:

    In this corner, we have the crazed half-term governor who can’t string together a coherent sentence and thought “what newspapers do you read” was a trick question.

    In this corner, we have the policy wonk who is desperately trying to govern sensibly with the crazed rump of the GOP galloping in every direction.


  13. wr says:

    @Hal_10000: “In this corner, we have the policy wonk who is desperately trying to govern sensibly with the crazed rump of the GOP galloping in every direction.”

    Hey, look! We’ve found someone who’s swallowed Ryan’s ludicrous PR schtick! Pay no attention to the magic asterisks that allow him to “govern sensibly” when there’s no way his budgets could ever add up. He says he’s sensible, so he is!

  14. Hal_10000 says:


    Hey, look at the actual budget that was just passed!

    If you look at what Ryan actually does and the legislation he supports, the difference between him and the Trumpaloos couldn’t be plainer.

  15. stonetools says:

    I love the smell of Republican chaos in the morning…
    This is the stuff beyond liberals’ wildest imagining. I think we should just stand aside and not interrupt them while they destroy themselves.

  16. Jenos Idanian says:

    Doug, I have it on good authority that failed veep candidates like Palin fade into political obscurity. Why don’t you just Let It Go?