Donald TrumpDonald TrumpMan sentenced to nearly four years for running scam Trump, Biden PACs Meadows says Trump's blood oxygen level was dangerously low when he had COVID-19 Trump endorses David Perdue in Georgia's governor race MORE wasted little time launching a retaliatory swipe at Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanFormer Sen. Bob Dole dies at 98 No time for the timid: The dual threats of progressives and Trump Juan Williams: Pelosi shows her power MORE (R-Wis.) for announcing to House Republicans Monday morning that he will no longer defend the party's nominee.
"Paul Ryan should spend more time on balancing the budget, jobs and illegal immigration and not waste his time on fighting Republican nominee," Trump tweeted.
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
It’s the latest salvo in what’s long been a rocky relationship.
Ryan made it clear he plans to press forward on protecting the House GOP majority, in spite of any further attacks from Trump.
"The speaker is going to spend the next month focused entirely on protecting our congressional majorities in order to advance our 'Better Way' agenda," a Ryan spokeswoman said when asked to respond to Trump's tweet.
Earlier Monday, Ryan convened a conference call to urge House Republicans to respond to the GOP presidential nominee in whatever way helps them win reelection.
Ryan noted that he isn’t rescinding his endorsement of Trump, despite refusing to campaign with him or defend the nominee going forward.
The announcement was a blow to the Trump campaign, coming just after the second presidential debate against Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRepublican Ohio Senate candidate slams JD Vance over previous Trump comments Budowsky: Why GOP donors flock to Manchin and Sinema Countering the ongoing Republican delusion MORE on Sunday night.
Trump has been under siege from his own party since Friday, when a 2005 audio recording came to light in which he bragged about using his celebrity to grope and kiss women without their consent.
Ryan said he was “sickened” by the audio, and he rescinded Trump’s invite to what would have been their first joint campaign appearance in Wisconsin on Saturday.
The Speaker has always been reticent in his support of Trump. He dragged out formally endorsing Trump for weeks this summer, a favor Trump returned when Ryan faced a long-shot primary challenger in August.
Ryan has rebuked Trump for, among other things, proposing to ban Muslims from the U.S., failing to swiftly condemn a Ku Klux Klan leader, stoking violence at campaign rallies and accusing a Mexican-American judge of bias in a case against Trump University.
Trump has also taken shots at Ryan. In March, Trump warned Ryan would “have to pay a big price” if they didn't get along. And a month before that, Trump blamed Mitt Romney’s loss in the 2012 presidential election on his selection of Ryan as his running mate.
Trump’s latest strike at Ryan puts Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and vice presidential nominee Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceJan. 6 committee getting 'significant cooperation' from top Pence aide: CNN More voters would pick Trump over Biden if election were held today: poll Flynn, McEnany and Trump's personal assistant granted delays by Jan. 6 committee MORE in a tough spot, given their close relationships with Ryan.
The last time Trump waged a fight against the Speaker, Priebus and Pence both broke with the nominee to endorse Ryan in his August primary.
GOP leaders are now under pressure to play a delicate dance in distancing themselves from Trump without completely dumping him.
Republicans like Ryan don’t want to push away moderates and independents, but, at the same time, they don’t want to alienate enthusiastic Trump supporters.
Updated 2:06 p.m.