Sinking poll numbers and a feud with leading Republican Paul Ryan have overshadowed Donald Trump's election campaign. In an interview, Ryan reiterated that his support for the presidential nominee is not guaranteed.
House Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday gave a strong critique of Donald Trump's performance three months before Americans choose between Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
"You would think that we want to be focusing on Hillary Clinton, on all of her deficiencies," Ryan told Wisconsin's WTAQ radio. "She is such a weak candidate that one would think that we would be on offense against Hillary Clinton, and it is distressing that that's not what we're talking about these days."
Ryan said he would continue to back Trump despite the swirling controversy after Trump lashed out at the family of decorated soldier Capt. Humayun Khan. But "none of these things are ever blank checks," he said.
Trump was widely attacked last week after he criticized the family of the Muslim-American soldier, who was killed in action in Iraq in 2004.
He has since declined to endorse Ryan and Senator John McCain, the party's 2008 nominee, in their congressional re-election campaigns.
Poll shows Clinton ahead
The latest poll from NBC News and the "Wall Street Journal" has Clinton leading Trump by nine points nationally, 47 percent to 38 percent.
Speaking at a campaign stop in Portland, Maine on Thursday, Trump sought to distract from his troubled campaign with a familiar theme.
"We are letting people come in from terrorist nations that shouldn't be allowed because you can't vet them," said Trump, who has built his campaign around an anti-immigration platform. "You have no idea who they are. This could be the great Trojan horse of all time," he said.
Speaking at the Pentagon, US President Barack Obama launched his own critique of the struggling Republican candidate days after Trump warned that the November election could be "rigged."
"If Mr. Trump is suggesting there is a conspiracy theory that is being propagated across the country, including in places like Texas, where it is typically not Democrats in charge of voting booths, that is ridiculous," Obama told a press conference.
jbh/cmk (AFP, AP)