Ryan to GOP Lawmakers: I 'Won't Defend Trump'

But speaker isn't rescinding his endorsement—for now, anyway
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 10, 2016 11:21 AM CDT
Ryan to GOP Lawmakers: I 'Won't Defend Trump'
House Speaker Paul Ryan speaks at a fall fest event held in Elkhorn, Wis., on Saturday.   (Anthony Wahl/The Janesville Gazette via AP)

Sen. John McCain has dropped his endorsement for Donald Trump, as have several dozen other prominent GOPers, in the wake of Trump's "hot mic" 2005 tape that leaked Friday. But House Speaker Paul Ryan is still hanging in there, though he now says Trump can't count on him for much help through the rest of the election. Politico reports that in a Monday morning conference call, Ryan told fellow Republican lawmakers he "won't defend Trump" or show up at any campaign events with him leading up to Election Day. Instead, he's choosing to set his sights on other matters. "The speaker is going to spend the next month focused entirely on protecting our congressional majorities," his spokeswoman said in a statement, per the Washington Post.

"You all need to do what's best for you and your district," the Post source says Ryan told lawmakers in his call. And it's a real concern: A national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Monday shows Dems now have a 7-point lead on congressional preference, CNBC reports. But amid rumors that Ryan is thinking of pulling his endorsement entirely, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway appeared on CBS This Morning on Monday, saying, "I certainly hope Speaker Ryan keeps his word and his endorsement of Donald Trump," per Politico. As for those lawmakers who've already withdrawn their support, Trump doesn't have much hope for them in their own races. "So many self-righteous hypocrites. Watch their poll numbers—and elections—go down!" he tweeted Sunday before the debate. (More Paul Ryan stories.)

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