Trump unleashes tweetstorm on Ryan, widening GOP divide

Greg Nash

Donald Trump is doubling down in his attacks against House Speaker Paul Ryan, 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 Clinton 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.

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.

Trump’s attacks come after a weekend in which Republicans abandoned him droves for the obscene remarks that he apologized for at the debate.

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?”

But Trump is in free fall even with support from the national party, and if he is going to lose, he appears hell-bent on dragging the GOP down with him.

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 Pence.

But that feeling is far from unanimous.

Many Republicans say the GOP should be sticking with its nominee. 

Tags Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Mike Pence Paul Ryan
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