One day after warning the GOP that his "shackles" are off, Republican presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald TrumpSenate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale Crenshaw slams House Freedom Caucus members as 'grifters,' 'performance artists' Senate confirms Biden's nominee to lead Customs and Border Protection MORE floated the prospect of a "sinister deal" preventing 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.) from coming to his defense.
Trump at a Florida rally on Wednesday questioned why Ryan, who effectively conceded Trump's White House chances during a call with lawmakers this week, wouldn't come out and congratulate him after Sunday's presidential debate.
"Wouldn't you think Paul Ryan would call and say, 'good going'?" Trump asked in Ocala.
"You'd think they'd say, 'Great going, Don. Let's go, let's beat this crook. Let's beat her. We've got to stop her.' No, he doesn't do that. There's a whole deal going on. We're going to figure it out. I always figure things out. There's a whole sinister deal."
It's the latest evidence of a deepening fracture between the GOP nominee and his party's establishment less than one month before the election. It all comes while frantic Republicans face the fallout of Friday's release of damaging audio in which Trump talks about groping women without their consent.
More than two-dozen lawmakers called on Trump to withdraw as the nominee and leave the top of the ticket to his running mate, Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceTo advance democracy, defend Taiwan and Ukraine Jan. 6 committee getting 'significant cooperation' from top Pence aide: CNN More voters would pick Trump over Biden if election were held today: poll MORE. But Trump has emphatically sworn off the idea, telegraphing all-out warfare against the party with a series of Tuesday morning tweets declaring that the "shackles" put on him by establishment Republicans are now off.
The discontent all comes as Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBen Affleck: Republicans 'want to dodge the consequences for their actions' through gerrymandering Republican Ohio Senate candidate slams JD Vance over previous Trump comments Budowsky: Why GOP donors flock to Manchin and Sinema MORE continues to expand her lead at the polls. Those top-of-the-ticket gains have prompted Republicans and Democrats alike to begin to wonder if the fallout could deliver the Senate to the Democrats and even put House control in play.
Trump has shown no sign of playing nice with the party, putting him at odds with the Speaker, who agreed to take the post last year in the hopes of building party unity.
Ryan repudiated Trump's 2005 comments in a statement over the weekend. But while the Wisconsin Republican did not withdraw his endorsement officially, he told lawmakers this week he would no longer defend Trump or campaign with him. Instead, Ryan said that he would focus on maintaining the House majority as a check on Clinton if she wins.
Ryan's decision has drawn the ire of Trump and his allies.
The GOP nominee tore into Ryan on Fox News's "The O'Reilly Factor" on Tuesday night, saying he doesn't want Ryan's support and that the Speaker is the only person who could lose to President Obama in a negotiation.
And while a number of lawmakers criticized Ryan for his decision during this week's private lawmaker call, Rep. Jim BridenstineJames (Jim) Frederick BridenstineBill Nye promotes infrastructure, social spending bills with Biden NASA can facilitate the commercial space station race SpaceX all-civilian crew returns to Earth, successfully completing 3-day mission MORE (R-Okla.) tweeted Wednesday that he could no longer support Ryan if the Speaker doesn't back Trump.
Trump's inner circle includes at least one operative who has long advocated for Ryan's political destruction, The Hill reported exclusively on Tuesday.
Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon, then head of conservative news website Breitbart, told a reporter that he hoped to see Ryan "gone" by this past spring.
--This report was updated at 2:56 p.m.