Paul Ryan: ‘I Am Not Going to Defend Donald Trump – Not Now, Not in the Future’
On a never-before-released private October conference call with House Republican members, House Speaker Paul Ryan told his members in the U.S. House of Representatives he was abandoning then-GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump forever and would never defend him ever again.
In the Oct. 10, 2016 call, from right after the Access Hollywood tape of Trump was leaked in the weeks leading up to the election, Ryan does not specify that he will never defend Trump on just the Access Hollywood tape—he says clearly he is done with Trump altogether.
“I am not going to defend Donald Trump—not now, not in the future,” Ryan says in the audio, obtained by Breitbart News and published here for the first time ever.
Now, Ryan—still the Speaker—has pushed now President Donald Trump to believe his healthcare legislation the American Health Care Act would repeal and replace Obamacare when it does not repeal Obamacare. Ryan has also, according to Trump ally Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), misled President Trump into believing that Ryan’s bill can pass Congress. Paul and others believe the bill is dead on arrival in the U.S. Senate since a number of GOP senators have come out against it, and there are serious questions about whether it can pass the House. This is the first major initiative that Trump has worked on with Ryan—and the fact it is going so poorly calls into question whether Speaker Ryan, the GOP’s failed 2012 vice presidential nominee who barely supported Trump at all in 2016, really understands how Trump won and how to win in general.
The October conference call apparently was intended only for House Republican members. It’s unclear which or how many House Republicans took part in the call, whether the participants knew it was being recorded, who made the recording, or whether a recording exists of the entire call. The remarks on the portion provided to Breitbart News certainly sound like they were coming from Speaker Ryan, who seemed to be abandoning his party’s presidential nominee altogether just weeks before the election. He says not only will he not defend the Access Hollywood comments, but he will not campaign with Trump at all between this call on Oct. 10, 2016, and the general election for the presidency on Nov. 8—and that Ryan would not defend Trump on anything generally.
Ryan followed through on his promise to not campaign with Trump, abandoning the now president in the final crucial weeks leading up to the all-important general election. But Trump won anyway, in a landslide in the electoral college crushing Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton. This audio file means that Trump won all 306 of his electoral votes on his own, without Ryan, including the 10 he won in Ryan’s home state of Wisconsin. As soon as Trump won without Ryan’s help, Ryan aligned himself with then President-elect Trump and now President Trump—acting like he never abandoned him on the campaign trail and never disinvited the president from a rally in his district.
Ryan’s comments on this Oct. 10 call came after a female voice—it’s unclear if the woman was a House member or not—opened up the call. He called Trump’s Access Hollywood comments indefensible and said they do not fit with the Republican Party’s “principles and values.” Ryan also told House members on the call that he would not be campaigning with Trump, and that each member should make their own decision with regards to Trump over the next several weeks at that point: Abandon the GOP nominee for president like Ryan was doing or stand with him? A number of members joined Ryan in abandoning Trump. Both of those two sections of the call have been previously reported in media, although those media reports lacked audio of Ryan to back them up. But the more important line is the line where Ryan says—without specifying this was about the Access Hollywood leak—that he will never defend Donald Trump again.
“His comments are not anywhere in keeping with our party’s principles and values,” Ryan said. “There are basically two things that I want to make really clear, as for myself as your Speaker. I am not going to defend Donald Trump—not now, not in the future. As you probably heard, I disinvited him from my first congressional district GOP event this weekend—a thing I do every year. And I’m not going to be campaigning with him over the next 30 days.”
“Look, you guys know I have real concerns with our nominee,” Ryan continued. “I hope you appreciate that I’m doing what I think is best for you, the members, not what’s best for me. So, I want to do what’s best for our members, and I think this is the right thing to do. I’m going to focus my time on campaigning for House Republicans. I talked to a bunch of you over the last 72 hours and here is basically my takeaway. To everyone on this call, this is going to be a turbulent month. Many of you on this call are facing tough reelections. Some of you are not. But with respect to Donald Trump, I would encourage you to do what you think is best and do what you feel you need to do. Personally, you need to decide what’s best for you. And you all know what’s best for you where you are.”
Later in the audio, Ryan does clarify that the “last thing” he wanted to do was help Clinton ascend to the presidency.
“But the last thing I want to do is to help Hillary Clinton get the presidency, and get Congress,” Ryan said. “Look, she’s a failed progressive. She’s running an abysmal campaign. I mean, it’s just—it’s amazing how easily she could be beaten. She will take this country in the wrong direction. And the last thing we need is four more years of Obama policies or two years of a Clinton presidency with a Democrat Congress. Could you imagine what that would look like? So the last thing we want to be doing is giving Hillary Clinton a blank check in Congress.”
“That’s why I’m going to spend the rest of this month fighting for Congress, fighting for our majorities,” Ryan continued. “I’m going to spend the next 28 days working hard with all of our members to get re-elected because we need a check on Hillary Clinton if Donald Trump and Mike Pence don’t win the presidency. Greg Walden will get more into what that looks like and what polling looks like, but I want to basically close with this: His comments are indefensible, they’re not in keeping with our principles, so I’m not going to try to defend him. I’m going to focus on Congress, I’m going to focus on upholding our values. We have a great, great policy agenda—A Better Way—that we need to take to voters and show what our party actually stands for and what it’s stood for for generations.”