Political News

Ryan's break from Trump prompts talk of GOP rebellion

Posted October 13

FILE - In this May 12, 2016, file photo, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, following his meeting with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. The escalating clash between Ryan and Trump is prompting warnings of retaliation against the speaker from rank-and-file House Republicans. That means Ryan could face a rebellion like the one that drove former Speaker John Boehner into retirement and that may test Ryan’s hold on his own job. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

— House Speaker Paul Ryan's abandonment of Donald Trump is aimed at protecting Republican control of the House. But it may test his hold on his own job, and his long-term ambitions.

Ryan's announcement that he won't defend his party's presidential nominee and that GOP candidates should choose their own paths to victory — with or without Trump — has led some Republicans to suggest they may not back Ryan's re-election as speaker.

"Given the stakes of this election, if Paul Ryan isn't for Trump, then I'm not for Paul Ryan," Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla., said Wednesday on Twitter.

Assuming Republicans remain in control of the House after November's elections — which no longer seems assured — Ryan may need every GOP vote he can get to keep his post. That means Ryan, R-Wis., cannot afford to let this week's trickle of defiant Republican lawmakers grow much larger.

Ryan, 46, was the 2012 vice presidential nominee and many think he could run for president in 2020, or beyond. Losing an election for speaker could be a blow to any loftier political ambitions.

Ryan's tactic has cheered many GOP lawmakers nervous that Trump's flagging candidacy could cost them their jobs. But it has infuriated other Republicans and conservatives, in and out of Congress, especially Trump's die-hard backers. They consider Ryan's decision a betrayal that will weaken Trump's chances of beating Democratic Hillary Clinton.

"I suspect whatever he said would be a no-win for unanimity" among Republicans, former Rep. Tom Reynolds, R-N.Y., said Wednesday. "He's walking on a tightrope, like any speaker up for re-election," said Reynolds, who led the House GOP's campaign organization a decade ago.

On Monday, Ryan told House Republicans in a conference call that he will spend the time until the Nov. 8 election working to keep GOP control of the House, and will do nothing to help Trump. That call came after the revelation of a 2005 video showing Trump making vulgar remarks about forcing himself physically on women.

Trump has since assailed Ryan, on Twitter and in public remarks. Trump said Wednesday while campaigning in Florida that Ryan and other Republicans are involved in a "sinister deal" against him. He offered no evidence for the assertion.

Bridenstine is a conservative and a member of the House Freedom Caucus, which often bucks leadership. But he backed Ryan when the House elected him speaker last October.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., who also supported Ryan then, hinted in an interview with The Associated Press that he might not favor keeping Ryan in the House's top job.

"I never doubted he should be speaker. However, if he can't prevent himself from panicking and helping the enemy in a situation like this, well, then we'll find out," Rohrabacher said Monday.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said Ryan was under pressure from Republicans in conservative districts to back Trump and from candidates from more moderate areas to distance themselves from him.

"The risk he took was a plausible one, it was well intentioned. And we're not going to know until Nov. 9 whether it's going to work or not," King said.

AshLee Strong, Ryan's spokeswoman, said Wednesday that Ryan is "fighting to ensure we hold a strong majority next Congress, and he is always working to earn the respect and support of his colleagues."

House Republicans meet after the November vote to select their nominee for speaker. Ryan would need 218 votes — a majority of the House's 435 members — to become speaker when the full House votes in January.

There are currently 246 House Republicans, plus a vacant seat the GOP seems likely to retain.

But that number probably will shrink after Election Day, with GOP moderates among the likeliest to lose. That means a greater proportion of conservatives, some of whom are hostile to established GOP leaders, and indicates Ryan may not be able to afford losing much support.

Ryan succeeded former Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who retired last October after it became clear that opposition from conservatives within his party's caucus meant he did not have the votes to retain his job.


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  • Raleigh Rose Oct 13, 3:02 p.m.
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    Mr. Gravel I would argue that the people who support and voted for Trump are the true RINOs. They are not what the traditional Republican party is about. The Tea Party really should have formed their own political party. Many of the planks in the platform for Trump are not traditional Republican ideas. Take free trade for instance. Free trade has always been supported by the right. NAFTA was started under GHWBush. Clinton had to have broad GOP support to get it passed but now Trump is against free trade. Many in the Republican party has ventured so far to the right that moderate Republicans are now what you call RINOs, when in fact, it is those on the far right that are the true RINOs. Jeb and Kasich are both moderate conservatives. The GOP will never win another presidential election unless they nominate moderates. The country is mainly moderates and the far right are a minority.

  • Larry Price Oct 13, 2:42 p.m.
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    Well put. It's a shame that anyone in Congress who is willing to consider a compromise in order to get something accomplished is turned on by their constituents. Regrettably, inflexibility has become the ultimate virtue for a Congressman in the eyes of many of the voters.

  • Barney Gravel Oct 13, 12:40 p.m.
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    Raleigh Rose you need to understand that the GOP created Trump. For two elections in 2010 and 2012, they were given the reigns of Congress and did nothing to stop the Obama agenda. Why would anyone in the rank and file membership trust Jeb Bush or John Kaisch. They are very much the capitulating RINO's, that every Democrat loves.

  • Barney Gravel Oct 13, 12:38 p.m.
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    I know WRAL and AP are tied at the hip, but today's revelations that Hillary wants open borders is dangerous and irresponsible and make her unfit for the Presidency. We have the experience from Europe that mass migration is a disaster that taxes the country's citizenry. This is probably the reason the Ultra-Liberal candidate from the Green Party stated: that she is more fearful of Mrs. Clinton with nukes rather than successful entrepreneur Donald Trump.

  • Raleigh Rose Oct 13, 11:53 a.m.
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    You are so right. Hillary is a flawed candidate, but somehow the GOP managed to nominate an even more flawed candidate. If they had nominated Jeb or Kasich this wouldn't even be a contest. But their vitriol towards Obama fed into all this nonsense that gave rise to Trump, who feeds off racism and misogyny and now we have this mess. . A large number of his supporters us #repealthe19th. I feel that the emergence of the Tea Party was the beginning of the split of the GOP, or even when they decided to marry social conservatism with the party. Most of the nation is more on the fiscally conservative side, but not so socially.

  • Stacie Hagwood Oct 13, 11:47 a.m.
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    Thank you, Paul Ryan, for a sound decision, regardless of your motives. As an independent I am keenly attuned to who puts the COUNTRY ahead of political party. And Democrats are not the enemy. They are our fellow citizens. There are extremists at both ends of the spectrum and they yell the loudest, but I am looking for someone to govern who is a TRUE patriot....someone who believes and governs to preserve the best of what our country is and was founded on....not to support one extreme view or the other. To do otherwise will be our nation's downfall.

  • Pete Muller Oct 13, 11:38 a.m.
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    Mr. Smith. Our founding fathers were very clear that the Republic should be ruled by laws, not by arbitrary decisions made by a monarch. Meaning, before the government can throw somebody into prison, the person has to be indicted and then found guilty. Neither of this has happened to Hillary Clinton. Although, varying members of the GOP have been wasting a lot of tax payer's money to try to make that happen. They failed miserably.

  • James Bognar Oct 13, 11:35 a.m.
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    Agreed. If the GOP sticked with fiscal conservatism instead of all these other nonsense issues, I'd be able to vote for them. I don't see that happening any time soon though. I'd vote Libertarian if they didn't also have crazy ideas like reintroducing the gold standard.

    I predict whoever wins the whitehouse in 2016 is going to get DESTROYED in the 2018 elections.

  • Howard Roark Oct 13, 11:27 a.m.
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    You're absolutely right. There's so much at stake with preserving the SCOTUS balance that's been republican leaning since 1970. Which is why it blows my mind that people are doubling down on a guy who continues to implode before our eyes, and alienates just about every demographic who is a non-white male.

    What happens in November will go down in history as one of the worst mistakes the Republican party has committed in generations. Their vitriol during the Obama presidency gave birth to this tyrant who is turning off Americans by the day.

    Republicans are going to be paying a heavy price for decades to come for this error in judgement, and they have no one to blame but themselves.

  • Tim Britton Oct 13, 11:03 a.m.
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    holier–than–thou attitude needs to go on this one! Does anyone realize that Romney was probably one of the most stand up guys to ever run for President and it did not work. Not even close. Call it what you want, voter fraud, maybe, or just the simple fact that people would not vote for a Mormon. Not sure, I voted for Romney and will vote for Trump!. There is more st stake than the White house, the supreme court who will rule for the next 30-40 years on issues like what can be preached from a pulpit, who can own a gun, who and what people can marry, and how late is too late to kill a human life, the day before birth, or the day after. It is coming and we have to be ready. If you do believe it, just look at what is already in the court system.