The NY Times reports that Paul Ryan Won’t Defend Donald Trump, Upsetting Trump and G.O.P. Hard-Liners.
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.
Trump doesn't quite get it. How could anyone, ANYONE, do that to Donald J. Trump?
Mr. Ryan’s stance drew an immediate rebuke from Mr. Trump, who posted on Twitter that Mr. Ryan should focus on governing instead of feuding with him.
This is a BFD. Ryan basically threw in the towel on the presidential election.
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.
More snippets from the Times report follow.
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.
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.
It's not about endorsing vs. campaigning vs. defending - it's all about Trump's narcissism.
But, here is more evidence of the rupture in the Republican party.
As telling as the fury from outspoken conservatives in the House was the silence from so many mainstream Republicans in the chamber, who showed little appetite to argue for or with their embattled nominee.
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.
No new prominent Republicans have withdrawn their endorsements from Mr. Trump since the end of the debate, but there was a palpable fear throughout the party that Mr. Trump had already been damaged beyond repair.
Representative Greg Walden of Oregon, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, urged members on the conference call to take new polls in their districts to gauge the impact of Mr. Trump’s political slide.
Mr. Walden said they should brace for a steep erosion of support for Mr. Trump and acknowledged the falloff could undermine congressional candidates, too. He asked the entire caucus to contribute quickly to the party’s campaign arm, making it clear they needed to bolster their defenses across the country.