WASHINGTON, D.C. — Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is facing mounting backlash after an audiotape surfaced capturing him saying he will “never defend Trump”.
In the audio tape, which leaked on Tuesday, Ryan can be heard ranting “I am not going to defend Donald Trump—not now, not in the future.” The audio was recorded on Oct. 10, 2016, shortly after audio surfaced of Trump making lude comments about women.
“There are basically two things that I want to make really clear, as for myself as your Speaker. I am not going to defend Donald Trump—not now, not in the future,” Ryan can be heard saying. “As you probably heard, I disinvited him from my first congressional district GOP event this weekend—a thing I do every year,” he continued. “And I’m not going to be campaigning with him over the next 30 days … I talked to a bunch of you over the last 72 hours and here is basically my takeaway. 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.”
The leaked audio follows a series of walkouts by Ryan’s fellow Republicans over Ryan’s Obamacare replacement proposal and the combined controversies have led for some high ranking commentators to call for Ryan’s resignation.
“Ryan should resign,” Lou Dobbs, conservative radio host and anchor of Lou Dobbs Tonight on Fox Business Network tweeted on Tuesday. Dobbs followed up the tweet with two others in which he dubs Ryan’s Obamacare replacement plan as “Ryancare” and described it as “failing”.
In addition to Dobbs, scores of other Republicans, especially those in the ultra conservative Freedom Caucus, have slammed the GOP health insurance bill, calling it “ObamaCare 2.0” and “ObamaCare Lite.”
“We must keep our promise to fully repeal Obamacare,” Kentucky senator Rand Paul (R) tweeted on Tuesday.
Paul, a physician who described Ryan’s Obamacare replacement plan as “dead on arrival”, says he and fellow Republican lawmakers plan to submit their own replacement plan that will better serve the American people.
“I have lived ObamaCare. It is a disaster. I have voted to repeal it and I will vote again,” Paul told Fox News (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/03/10/rand-paul-house-gops-obamacare-replacement-is-dead-on-arrival.html), “but I will not vote for ObamaCare Lite stuck on the repeal bill.”
Calls for statement to Speaker Ryan were met with “no comment”.