Paul Ryan defends embarrassing leaked audio

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan meekly defended himself after a leaked audio tape surfaced where he’s heard slamming President Trump.

“It’s no secret Donald and I had our ups and downs during the campaign,” Ryan told Fox News host Martha MacCallum. “We merged forces at the end of the campaign.”

Ryan said he doesn’t care that whoever leaked the audio is trying to embarrass him, because that was then; this is now. “I’ve got a really thick skin,” he said. “I don’t really give [the remarks] much thought.”

In the October 2016 audio tape, Ryan is heard telling fellow GOP lawmakers during a conference call that he had no intention of defending then-candidate Donald Trump from the media’s relentless attacks.

“I am not going to defend Donald Trump — not now, not in the future,” Ryan said. “And I’m not going to be campaigning with him over the next 30 days.”

Ryan made the remarks right after a 2005 Access Hollywood tape was released, where Trump made vulgar jokes about women with Jeb Bush‘s cousin, Billy Bush.

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While Paul Ryan and President Trump have since mended fences (at least on the outside), Ryan’s repeated failures to vocally support Trump have made him a target for party loyalists who say RINOs (Republicans in name only) like him have to go.

On Tuesday night, Fox Business anchor Lou Dobbs urged Paul Ryan to resign, saying he has failed the party, the president and the country.

“He had achieved next to nothing in his entire career before becoming Speaker, and he’s worked against his party’s presidential nominee and he lost,” Dobbs said. “It’s time for Ryan to vacate the Speaker’s office in the interest of his party and, in fact, the nation.”

Ryan got little support on Twitter, where Trump loyalists demanded he step down.

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