By Juliegrace Brufke, DCNF
House Speaker Paul Ryan told GOP lawmakers he won’t defend or campaign with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during a conference call Monday.
While discussing the current political landscape, the Wisconsin Republican, who uninvited the billionaire to a campaign event in the wake of a video catching Trump making lewd comments about women, told members to do what’s best for their district.
The backlash from the 2005 video has left a number of Republican members of Congress fearing they will lose their seats and possibly the majority.
“He made clear to members that his decisions are being driven by what is best for his members, not himself,” someone on the call, who included House members and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden, told reporters. “He is willing to endure political pressure to help protect our majority.”
The source said Ryan will do all he can to make “sure that Hillary Clinton does not get a blank check with a Democrat-controlled Congress.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in September, ahead of the video scandal shaking the campaign, she saw potential for Democrats to talk back both cambers of Congress.
The speaker is slated to visit 17 states and 42 cities in October alone with more expected to be added to his already jam-packed schedule.
“The speaker is going to spend the next month focused entirely on protecting our congressional majorities,” Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said in a statement provided to The Daily Caller News Foundation, adding “he said explicitly on the call he is not conceding” the election.
Trump and Ryan have had a turbulent relationship throughout the 2016 election cycle.
Ryan has been critical of a number of the nominee’s controversial remarks — including his proposal to ban immigrants based on religion and alleging a judge of Mexican heritage was unable to fairly preside over the Trump University case due to his immigration policies. He still decided to endorse him in June after much hesitation, saying he is better than the alternative.
Trump repeatedly praised Ryan’s primary opponent, who he beat by a landslide, before finally endorsing the speaker just days ahead of the election in August.
According to a GOP aide, there are no updates on whether Ryan will maintain his endorsement.
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