WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — Speaker Paul Ryan is telling congressional Republicans that he won’t defend Donald Trump now or in the future and will spend the next month defending his party’s House majority.
Ryan held a conference call Monday morning with House Republicans. Many of them are worried that their party’s presidential candidate is hurting their chances of winning re-election and is threatening their majority control of the House.
One person involved in the call says Ryan has not withdrawn his support for Trump, but has said he won’t defend him, either. Instead, he’ll campaign for GOP congressional candidates.
Another says Ryan has told lawmakers that he won’t campaign with Trump and he is advising GOP candidates “to do what’s best for you in your district.”
Instead, Ryan says he will spend “his entire energy making sure that Hillary Clinton does not get a blank check with a Democrat-controlled Congress.”
The comments come amid the fallout following a leak Friday of a 2005 video in which Trump is heard making lewd comments about women.
Since the video’s release, 29 Republicans have called on Trump to drop out of the presidential race and 44 GOP lawmakers have condemned his remarks, according to a running count by CBS News.
Ryan endorsed Trump in June, but Friday night issued a statement saying he was “sickened” by what he heard and disinvited the GOP nominee from an event where they were scheduled to appear together in Wisconsin.
“Women are to be championed and revered, not objectified,” Ryan said in the 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.”
Trump responded on Twitter, saying, “Paul Ryan should spend more time on balancing the budget, jobs and illegal immigration and not waste his time on fighting Republican nominee.”
According to reports, thefor Monday evening.
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