Donald Trump lashed out at Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan on Monday after Ryan called on members of the GOP to instead focus on their own elections.
In a conference call, Ryan told fellow Republicans that he will no longer defend Trump and will instead use the next 29 days of the election cycle to focus on maintaining his party’s hold on the House and Senate.
“The speaker is going to spend the next month focused entirely on protecting our congressional majorities,” Ryan’s spokeswoman, AshLee Strong, told CNN on Monday, referring to the conference call in which Ryan told his fellow lawmakers that “you all need to do what’s best for you and your district.”
“He will spend his entire energy making sure that Hillary Clinton does not get a blank check with a Democrat-controlled Congress,” said another person who listened to the conference call, according to the report.
Paul Ryan should spend more time on balancing the budget, jobs and illegal immigration and not waste his time on fighting Republican nominee
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2016
On Twitter, following Ryan’s call, Trump went on the offensive. “Paul Ryan should spend more time on balancing the budget, jobs and illegal immigration and not waste his time on fighting Republican nominee,” Trump wrote at 1 p.m. ET.
Ryan’s comments come in the wake of a Washington Post report last Friday, which showed that Trump was secretly recorded making crude comments on a bus in 2005. Trump’s comments, caught via a hot microphone, pertained to groping and kissing women, saying that “if you’re a star, they let you do it—you can do anything.”
After the leak, a number of high-profile Republicans attempted to distance themselves from the Republican nominee.
Sources told NPR that Ryan, who represents a district in Wisconsin, will now make campaign stops in 17 states and 42 cities in an attempt to protect Republican majorities in Congress. More stops could be planned.
His spokesperson told the broadcaster that Ryan has “no update in his position at this time” on the possibly of retracting his endorsement of Trump.
A person who listened to the conference call said some Republicans were angered by Ryan’s decision—claiming he essentially has conceded to Clinton.
However, Ryan spokesman Zack Roday told the CNN that the speaker “made it clear on the call he’s not conceding the presidential race.”