Paul Ryan has said he'll not campaign for Trump and focus instead on not losing Congress. Some House Republicans in tight races worry Trump could negatively impact their results and create long-term damage in the party.
House Speaker Paul Ryan on Monday told Republican lawmakers that he would not campaign for or defend his party's presidential candidate Donald Trump for the remainder of the race, and instead focus on not losing control of Congress.
Ryan, the Republican Party's most senior official, told colleagues that he will spend "his entire energy making sure that Hillary Clinton does not get a blank check with a Democrat-controlled Congress," according to anonymous sources who participated in the closed conference call.
Ryan stopped short of withdrawing his endorsement of Trump, whose campaign was hit by further turmoil after the release of a 2005 video over the weekend in which the Republican presidential candidate is heard making lewd comments about women.
Trump fired back at Ryan on Twitter, telling the speaker he should not waste his time challenging the Republican nominee.
Several Republican lawmakers dropped their support of Trump following the video's release, as the party faces one of its worse internal crises in decades.
Trump's campaign has been hit by a host of problems and dwindling support. Ryan's strategy appears to signal he has all but come to the conclusion Clinton will win the November 8 presidential election.
However, the House speaker denied he was giving up on Trump, even as several lawmakers in the conference call accused Ryan of downplaying any Republican chance to win the White House.
Some House Republicans in tight races worry Trump could negatively impact their results and create long-term damage in the party.
Republicans are also struggling to hold onto the Senate.
cw/tj (AP, dpa, Reuters)