Leaked audio has recently revealed that in the months leading to President Trump’s election, Paul Ryan stated that he would never defend or support the former businessman:
“I am not going to defend Donald Trump – not now, not in the future.”
The statement comes from Ryan as he delivered it to the House Republicans in a never before heard conference call. While Ryan wasn’t the only republican to refuse to endorse Trump, he is the only one thus far to have released such a harsh statement.
Ryan’s conference call with Republicans was just three days after the audio was released of Trump being disrespectful of a woman many years ago. Ryan can be heard in the video referencing Trump’s disrespect saying, “his comments are not anywhere in keeping with our party’s principles and values.”
The Speaker of the House never confirmed that he would drop support for Trump, but did make it clear he had serious speculations about the nominee. Ryan continues his phone conversation saying:
“To everyone on this call, this is going to be a turbulent month. Many of you on this call are facing tough reelections. Some of you are not. But with respect to Donald Trump, I would encourage you to do what you think is best and do what you feel you need to do. Personally, you need to decide what’s best for you. And you all know what’s best for you where you are.”
Trump and Ryan currently seem to be working well together, but Ryan upheld his promise during Trump’s campaign. He didn’t work with Trump to success. But he also didn’t help democratic nominee Hillary Clinton:
“The last thing I want to do is to help Hillary Clinton get the presidency, and get Congress… She’s a failed progressive. She’s running an abysmal campaign. It’s amazing how easily she could be beaten. She will take this country in the wrong direction. That’s why I’m going to spend the rest of this month fighting for Congress, fighting for our majorities.”
“I’m going to spend the next 28 days working hard with all of our members to get re-elected because we need a check on Hillary Clinton if Donald Trump and Mike Pence don’t win the presidency.”
The audience of the call and number is unknown as well as if they knew the call was being recorded. Regardless of Paul Ryan’s view of Trump at the time, he seems to have put differences behind him to work with the President.