America’s most powerful Republican politician has all but conceded the presidency.
The startling admission from House Speaker Paul Ryan came after an insider leaked the contents of a conference call with House Republicans.
Ryan says he won’t defend Donald Trump or campaign with him for the next 30 days.
He has never exactly been in Trump’s corner – taking a long time to endorse him – and he still hasn’t withdrawn that endorsement.
It's Over: Paul Ryan Will No Longer Campaign For or Defend Trump https://t.co/gZx4jBWqym
— John Laprise (@JohnLaprise) October 10, 2016
However an Associated Press report says in that conference call, Ryan has told them he will now spend his “entire energy making sure that Hillary Clinton does not get a blank check with a Democrat–controlled Congress”.
The report quotes a person on the call who demanded anonymity to describe the private conversation.
Less than an hour after the news broke, Ryan’s office issued a statement saying the Speaker was not un–endorsing Donald Trump, and was not conceding that Hillary Clinton would be the next president.
Donald Trump has since hit back on Twitter:
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
Key Republicans have turned against Trump since a tape was unearthed by CNN where he brags about kissing women and being able to grab their genitals because he’s a star.
Many GOP lawmakers are worried their party’s presidential candidate is hurting their chances of winning re–election and threatening their majority control of the House.
Ryan is reportedly telling them to “do what’s best for you in your district” when it comes to campaigning.
Paul Ryan Says He’ll No Longer Defend Donald Trump https://t.co/jSUWFP7tzV
— Marcia Wong (@marciakimwong) October 10, 2016
Meanwhile Australian opposition leader Bill Shorten says Donald Trump has confirmed through his own words and deeds the worst fears of Americans and others that he’s entirely unsuitable to be leader of the free world.
The opposition leader said he wasn’t the only one relieved that with every passing day and every demeaning and disgusting comment, Mr Trump’s prospect of becoming president faded.
In a speech to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia conference in Canberra on Tuesday, he said he visited Canada and the US last month, with the prospect of a Trump presidency one of the dominant topics of discussion.
“By his own words and his own actions, he has confirmed the worst fears of millions in the United States and beyond its borders – he is entirely unsuitable to be leader of the free world,” he says in the speech.
Mr Shorten said Mr Trump, like those who advocated Britain’s exit from the European Union, drew his power from those who have felt the rough edges of globalisation and economic change.
He said that included workers who had been outsourced, downsized and rationalised, families feeling the pinch of flat wages, widening inequality and falling living standards; and marginalised, alienated groups who were being told that migrants, minorities and big government were to blame.
“That’s the low road of change – lashing out, scapegoating. We need to take the high road – skilling our people, investing in education, addressing inequality, promoting inclusion,” he said.
– with agencies