Trump: We don't need no water, burn that &$#@! GOP down
© Getty Images

Donald J. Trump took a 2 by 4 to Twitter on Tuesday morning, and whacked the Speaker of the House Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcCarthy faces pushback from anxious Republicans over interview comments Pelosi and Trump go a full year without speaking Jordan vows to back McCarthy as leader even if House loses more GOP seats MORE with a volley of posts that ridiculed him for being a weak, disloyal and a bad leader.

The blistering attack indicates that Trump wanted to cement a very public, volatile and intentional rift between his campaign and Ryan. Why? For very self-centered reasons: he wants to burn the Republican majorities in the House and Senate down and he needs someone to blame in the likelihood that he loses.


The former is unlikely to happen, the latter will.

The attacks echoed the type of alt-conservative aggressiveness that has embodied the mindset of the former chief of Breitbart and Trump campaign CEO Stephen K. Bannon, and his followers.

In short, Trump behaved like a thug who decided, “Well ... if I am not going to win, I am going to knock them out too, and burn the whole entire party down.”

This is what happens when you have a nominee for a party who was rarely a member of the party. Political parties are like private clubs, when you join the club you adopt their principles and adhere to them.

The only person who wants to destroy the club is the guy who fought with everyone because he wanted the club to do things his way. When that club finally says “enough,” he gets some lighter fluid and some matches and torches the whole damn thing.

After months of trying to balance a support system for Trump, Ryan organized a call for House Republicans on Monday, telling them they should feel free to not support Trump if his behavior hurt them in their districts.

In the call, the Speaker said he was spending the next month focused entirely on protecting the majority in the House and doing whatever he could to protect the Senate; he also said he personally would not defend Trump or campaign with him for the remainder of the election.

Despite the allegations of Trump supporters that Ryan was surrendering the presidential election to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFive takeaways from the final Trump-Biden debate Trump, Biden tangle over Wall Street ties, fundraising The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump, Biden face off for last time on the debate stage MORE, he said explicitly on the call he is not conceding at all.

The emergence of the 2005 video that showed Trump demeaning women in vulgar terms had become a bridge too far for Ryan, who has had to previously denounce the nominee for his attacks on Muslims, a Gold Star family and a former beauty queen.

In an interview last week, Ryan stressed that the most important thing for the country and his conference was a unified party so they could get solid reforms done in Congress. He stressed the impact of good policies on poverty, healthcare and regulations and reforming the tax code, saying they would ease the strain that bad policies have had on the pocket books of the middle class.

In the past eight years, the Republican Party has become the dominant party in down ballot seats across the country, winning over 900 new state legislative seats in both chambers, 69 new U.S. House and Senate seats. And Republicans now hold the majorities of the state chambers and governors offices.

A Trump-enflamed fracture driven by spite would wipe out almost a generation of conservative reform that not only impacts local governing, but also serves a broad bench for GOP future leaders.

In January, Ryan developed a specific policy agenda, long before he knew who the presidential nominee would be (there were still a dozen candidates in the race) called the “Better Way.” It gave members a message and agenda to run with and tailor to their district.

“It is our job to earn the voters trust with sound policy ideas and not just gimmicks,” said Ryan, “That is why we developed it,that is what we are running on.”

The good news for Ryan and his plans for reform is that there little chance that the House will switch majorities.

The bad news for Trump is that his pathway to 270 electoral votes shrinks every day.

And that’s probably a good thing for the health and preservation of the party of Lincoln.

Salena Zito is a veteran political reporter and columnist. Reach her at


The views of Contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill