Donald TrumpDonald TrumpRobert Gates says 'extreme polarization' is the greatest threat to US democracy Cassidy says he won't vote for Trump if he runs in 2024 Schiff says holding Bannon in criminal contempt 'a way of getting people's attention' MORE is doubling down in his attacks against House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanJuan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Cheney takes shot at Trump: 'I like Republican presidents who win re-election' Cheney allies flock to her defense against Trump challenge MORE, ripping the GOP leader as a “weak and ineffective leader” and casting a divided Republican Party into civil war one month before the election.
The Wisconsin Republican held a conference call with the House Republican Conference on Monday in which he said he’d no longer defend the Republican presidential nominee following the explosive revelation of Trump’s sexually charged statements about women.
Trump’s support is in free fall, with national polls showing him trailing Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits Biden sends 'best wishes' to Clinton following hospitalization The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - Jan. 6 panel flexes its muscle MORE by double-digits, and congressional leaders are panicked that the GOP nominee will cost them majorities in the House and Senate.
But Ryan’s call infuriated Trump’s supporters on Capitol Hill, who lashed out at the Speaker for not being loyal to Trump.
Trump is taking Ryan’s slight personally, and on Monday morning unleashed a string of tweets that indicate he’ll attack Ryan and GOP leaders with the same vigor with which he’s attacking Clinton.
Despite winning the second debate in a landslide (every poll), it is hard to do well when Paul Ryan and others give zero support!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2016
Our very weak and ineffective leader, Paul Ryan, had a bad conference call where his members went wild at his disloyalty.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2016
It is so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2016
With the exception of cheating Bernie out of the nom the Dems have always proven to be far more loyal to each other than the Republicans!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2016
A spokesman for Ryan declined to fire back at Trump but noted that it would probably be better for the party if all were training their fire four weeks before Election Day on Democrats.
"Paul Ryan is focusing the next month on defeating Democrats, and all Republicans running for office should probably do the same," the spokesman said.
Yet the Republican National Committee held an emergency conference call on Monday evening to assure its members the national party is sticking by Trump.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus is firmly in Trump’s camp but is also seen as a close ally of Ryan. Both are from Wisconsin.
Trump has a bare-bones campaign staff that relies on staffers from the RNC, so if the national party were to abandon him, it would effectively doom the GOP nominee’s campaign.
Ryan’s remarks have angered some RNC members, who say the Speaker is actively working against them.
“I would prefer that he keep his mouth shut,” said Steve Scheffler, an RNC committeeman from Iowa. “If you don’t want to work with Trump, then don’t. I understand he has a job to do, but I’m tired of him or anyone else making a point of saying this. Do they want to give the election to Clinton?”
Some Republicans up for election in the House and Senate are running from the nominee, calling for him to drop out of the race and saying they’ll vote for running mate Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceReplace Kamala Harris with William Shatner to get kids excited about space exploration Bennie Thompson not ruling out subpoenaing Trump Heritage Foundation names new president MORE.
But that feeling is far from unanimous.
Many Republicans say the GOP should be sticking with its nominee.