Paul Ryan told GOP lawmakers he wouldn't 'defend' Trump after 'Access Hollywood' tape: book

Former Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanRealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Juan Williams: Biden's child tax credit is a game-changer Trump clash ahead: Ron DeSantis positions himself as GOP's future in a direct-mail piece MORE (R-Wis.) reportedly told House Republicans that they could feel free to abandon President TrumpDonald TrumpRealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Jake Ellzey defeats Trump-backed candidate in Texas House runoff DOJ declines to back Mo Brooks's defense against Swalwell's Capitol riot lawsuit MORE after a tape of him making vulgar comments about women emerged during the 2016 presidential campaign. 

Ryan made the remarks in what was described as a rare conference call three days after the "Access Hollywood" tape emerged in October 2016, according to an excerpt from the new book "The Hill to Die On" by Politico's Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer, as reported by Axios


"I am not going to defend Donald Trump," Ryan said, according to the book. "Not now, not in the future."

The details reveal new insights about how Republican lawmakers reacted to the tape, which included Trump bragging about groping and kissing women without their consent. Trump would later describe his comments as "locker room talk."

Ryan's office said at the time that the congressman was "sickened" by Trump's remarks.

"Women are to be championed and revered, not objectified," his office said in a statement. "I hope Mr. Trump treats this situation with the seriousness it deserves and works to demonstrate to the country that he has greater respect for women than this clip suggests. In the meantime, he is no longer attending tomorrow’s event in Wisconsin."

Ryan and Trump were known to have a rocky relationship during Trump's first two years as president. Trump once asked the former Speaker why he wasn't more "loyal" to him in 2017, according to a book written by Cliff Sims, formerly a White House communications staffer.

The interaction reportedly occurred after Ryan criticized Trump's response to a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., that turned deadly. Ryan said that Trump "could have done better" in his response.

"Paul, do you know why Democrats have been kicking your ass for decades? Because they know a little word called 'loyalty,'" Trump told Ryan, according to the book.

Axios, citing "The Hill To Die On," noted that Trump said he was able to give Ryan a pass for his disloyalty "because it's life and we sort of need each other a little bit." 

Ryan predicted in March that Trump would win reelection in 2020 because of his ideas and "record of accomplishment."

"We’re clearly better off because of [Trump]," he tweeted. "His record of accomplishment is why he’ll win re-election especially when compared to Dems’ leftward lurch."