Former Vice President nominee and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin spoke out openly against Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s decision to hold off on endorsing presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump for president.
“[Ryan’s] political career is over but for a miracle because he has so disrespected the will of the people, and as the leader of the GOP, the convention, certainly he is to remain neutral, and for him to already come out and say who he will not support is not a wise decision of his,” Palin said in a CNN interview with Jake Tapper.
She predicted that Ryan’s career would go the way of Eric Cantor, the Virginia Republican House Majority leader who was upset in the 2014 congressional primary by an anti-establishment Republican.
“I think Paul Ryan is soon to be Cantored, as in Eric Cantor,” Palin suggested.
Palin said she’s endorsing Ryan’s primary opponent Paul Nehlen, who endorsed Donald Trump shortly after Speaker Ryan announced he was “not ready” to endorse the presumptive nominee.
“I will do whatever I can for Paul Nehlen.”
“This man is a hard-working guy, so in touch with the people,” Palin said. “Paul Ryan and his ilk, their problem is they have become so disconnected by the people whom they are elected to represent.”
As Speaker of the House, Ryan is the top Republican official in the government.
Ryan’s unwillingness to endorse Trump points to a divide in the Republican party and has “blindsided” the presumptive nominee. Since then, Trump has hit back at Ryan for not endorsing him—both in statements, at rallies, and on Twitter.
“I am not ready to support Speaker Ryan’s agenda,” Trump said in a statement. “Perhaps in the future we can work together and come to an agreement about what is best for the American people. They have been treated so badly for so long that it is about time for politicians to put them first!”
Paul Ryan said that I inherited something very special, the Republican Party. Wrong, I didn’t inherit it, I won it with millions of voters!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 6, 2016
Speaker Ryan and Trump are reportedly meeting in Washington on Thursday, May 12, a meeting set up by Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus. However, Trump’s commented that the meeting could further separate the party rather than unify it:
“Reince feels, and I’m okay with that, that we should meet before we go our separate ways.”
Trump said on CNN’s State of the Union that Palin is a “free agent” when asked whether or not he would like to see Ryan kicked out of his post as Speaker of the House:
“But I have nothing to do with that. You know, Sarah’s very much a free agent. She’s a terrific person but she’s very much a free agent and I didn’t know about this until yesterday. I guess she’s been fighting or she’s endorsing somebody running against Paul Ryan. And I didn’t know about it until yesterday when I read about it.”
Sarah Palin endorsed Donald Trump in January of this year and is one of the most outspoken surrogates of the Trump campaign.