Paul Ryan Caught on Tape: ‘I Am Not Going to Defend Donald Trump—Not Now, Not in the Future’

“I am not going to defend Donald Trump—not now, not in the future.”

— Paul Ryan

Not good. Not good at all. What happens when you’re recently elected Republican President is beset by both the media and the liberals who oppose his every move? Normally, the GOP would rally around him and help to support him in his fight to make life better for all Americans… but this is no normal presidency, is it?

Breitbart has uncovered audio of House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) bemoaning President Trump and promising to never give the President his support (or defense).

The commentary came during a conference call with House Republicans back in October of 2016 and saw Ryan promising to never defend Trump or to even campaign with him during the election.

The partial transcript comes from Breitbart:

“His comments are not anywhere in keeping with our party’s principles and values,” Ryan said. “There are basically two things that I want to make really clear, as for myself as your Speaker. I am not going to defend Donald Trump—not now, not in the future. As you probably heard, I disinvited him from my first congressional district GOP event this weekend—a thing I do every year. And I’m not going to be campaigning with him over the next 30 days.”

“Look, you guys know I have real concerns with our nominee,” Ryan continued. “I hope you appreciate that I’m doing what I think is best for you, the members, not what’s best for me. So, I want to do what’s best for our members, and I think this is the right thing to do. I’m going to focus my time on campaigning for House Republicans. I talked to a bunch of you over the last 72 hours and here is basically my takeaway. To everyone on this call, this is going to be a turbulent month. Many of you on this call are facing tough reelections. Some of you are not. But with respect to Donald Trump, I would encourage you to do what you think is best and do what you feel you need to do. Personally, you need to decide what’s best for you. And you all know what’s best for you where you are.

Later in the audio, Ryan does clarify that the “last thing” he wanted to do was help Clinton ascend to the presidency.

“But the last thing I want to do is to help Hillary Clinton get the presidency, and get Congress,” Ryan said. “Look, she’s a failed progressive. She’s running an abysmal campaign. I mean, it’s just—it’s amazing how easily she could be beaten. She will take this country in the wrong direction. And the last thing we need is four more years of Obama policies or two years of a Clinton presidency with a Democrat Congress. Could you imagine what that would look like? So the last thing we want to be doing is giving Hillary Clinton a blank check in Congress.”

“That’s why I’m going to spend the rest of this month fighting for Congress, fighting for our majorities,” Ryan continued. “I’m going to spend the next 28 days working hard with all of our members to get re-elected because we need a check on Hillary Clinton if Donald Trump and Mike Pence don’t win the presidency. Greg Walden will get more into what that looks like and what polling looks like, but I want to basically close with this: His comments are indefensible, they’re not in keeping with our principles, so I’m not going to try to defend him. I’m going to focus on Congress, I’m going to focus on upholding our values. We have a great, great policy agenda—A Better Way—that we need to take to voters and show what our party actually stands for and what it’s stood for for generations.”

Here’s the audio:

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