Emerging from a Republican Party conference on Monday, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced that he would no longer defend Trump’s presidential candidacy following the release of recordings of remarks by Trump that are demeaning to women.
The New York Times reports:
… 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.
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly