Presidential races

Breitbart: No ‘amnesty’ for Paul Ryan

Greg Nash
Populist pro-Donald Trump website Breitbart is not stopping its war on Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) now that Trump is president-elect.
“Ryan will not get amnesty for his actions against the conservative movement and the American people,” a source familiar with Breitbart’s internal deliberations told The Hill on Wednesday.
{mosads}The Trump-Ryan relationship will be one of the most intriguing — and consequential — in the coming months as the president-elect seeks to put his stamp on Washington.
The two had been in open warfare for months, and Ryan’s kind words about Trump following his stunning victory on Tuesday night do little more than paper over deep and long-standing rifts between the conservative grassroots and the GOP leadership. 
Ryan endorsed Trump, though was never fully comfortable with his candidacy. Unlike some other Republicans, however, Ryan did not withdraw his endorsement in the wake of a leaked tape showing Trump talking vulgarly about groping women. Ryan angered some of his colleagues following the tape’s leaking when he said he would defend the House majority but not Trump.
In the final days of the campaign, Ryan lent more support to Trump. He campaigned with VP nominee Mike Pence and wrote a CNN opinion piece telling Republicans to unify and vote GOP up and down the ticket, from Trump to the House candidates. 
Trump may yet make a conciliatory gesture toward Ryan, but those around him are unlikely to forget what they see as an unforgivable betrayal by the Speaker.
Breitbart, which has become the tribune for the nationalist populist movement that powered Trump to the presidency, has led the grassroots attacks on Ryan.
Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon, who formerly chaired Breitbart, views Ryan as a “globalist,” barely distinguishable from Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Sources familiar with his thinking say he believes to his core that Ryan is intent on undermining America’s sovereignty through support for open borders and free-trade policies. 
On internal Breitbart conference calls, Bannon has referred to Ryan as “the enemy.” And, as The Hill revealed via leaked emails, Bannon gave his staff explicit orders to destroy Ryan.
Breitbart’s reporters, led by Washington editor Matthew Boyle, have taken up the fight with gusto.
During Breitbart’s July coverage of Ryan’s contentious primary race against Wisconsin businessman Paul Nehlen, Bannon’s website ran a story suggesting Ryan was hypocritical for building a “border wall” around his Janesville mansion when he refused to fully support Trump’s proposed wall along the southern border.   
When Ryan opposed Trump’s plan to ban Muslims from entering the U.S., Breitbart accused the Speaker of hypocrisy because he wanted no “religious test” for who gets admitted into the country yet sent his children to a Catholic school that uses a religious test in its admissions process.
Most recently, Breitbart published a 3,000-word hit piece headlined: “He’s with her: Inside Paul Ryan’s months-long campaign to elect Hillary Clinton president.” 
Accompanying the story was an image of a grinning Ryan beside the Democratic presidential nominee’s campaign slogan, “I’m with her.”
Ryan, for his part, appears to be trying his utmost to unify the party under Trump.
Speaking from his hometown of Janesville, Wis., on Wednesday morning, Ryan said he had spoken with the president-elect twice since his win and described a positive working relationship.
“Last night and again this morning I spoke with President-elect Donald Trump,” Ryan said. “We talked about the work ahead of us and importance of bringing this country together.
“I think our relationship is fine,” he added. “I think we’re going to hit the ground running. We’ve already talked about getting our transitions working together.”
— Lisa Hagen contributed reporting. 
– Updated at 5:25 p.m.
Tags Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Mike Pence Paul Ryan
See all Hill.TV See all Video