• WisPolitics

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

 9:00 AM 

Trump slams Ryan on Twitter, Dems question Wis. Republicans over Trump support

Donald Trump took to Twitter this morning to slam House Speaker Paul Ryan, who told fellow House Republicans he will not defend the GOP presidential nominee or campaign with him over the closing month of the election.

Ryan, R-Janesville, told House Republicans yesterday "to do what's best for you in your district" when it comes to the nominee, according to a source who was on the conference call.

Trump tweeted this morning, "Our very weak and ineffective leader, Paul Ryan, had a bad conference call where his members went wild at his disloyalty."

That tweet followed another in which he wrote, "Despite winning the second debate in a landslide (every poll), it is hard to do well when Paul Ryan and others give zero support!"

The two have had a contentious relationship, with Ryan initially declining to endorse Trump this spring until he heard more from the nominee. He eventually backed Trump, but has been critical of the nominee at times. That includes releasing a statement Friday saying he was "sickened" by vulgar comments Trump made toward women in 2005. A tape of the remarks was released Friday, and Ryan pulled the invitation for the nominee to address a Walworth County event the next day.

See Trump's Twitter feed:

Meanwhile, Dems turned up the pressure on GOP candidates to state whether they continued to support their nominee following the Friday release of his 2005 comments.

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson deflected questions on Trump and talked instead about Hillary Clinton's past controversies.

The Oshkosh Republican, asked about Trump's comments during a Monday appearance on WLIP radio in Kenosha, said her "dereliction of duty" with Benghazi cost four Americans their lives and cited her use of private email while secretary of state. He also dipped back to controversies from the 1990s, including Whitewater and Travelgate, while saying she "trashed the women that Bill Clinton abused."

He didn't say whether he still supports Trump, and his campaign said there is no update on his position.

"I don't know how Senator Feingold can support Hillary Clinton," Johnson said.

Feingold told reporters Monday his support for Clinton is "so obviously different" and "anybody who can't make that distinction has got some problems."

A new TV ad from Dem Tom Nelson hit 8th CD GOP rival Mike Gallagher for suggesting "we have to" support Trump.

Gallagher didn't answer directly when asked in an email whether he would vote for the GOP nominee.

"As I said on Friday, I denounce Donald Trump's offensive and reprehensible comments and he alone will have to bear the consequences of his actions," Gallagher said in an email. "And like many ordinary Wisconsinites here in the 8th District, I find myself disgusted with the state of American politics."

Gallagher didn't say whether he would vote for Trump, but that Dem nominee Hillary Clinton "failed the commander-in-chief test" the night of the Benghazi attack. He said Clinton then lied about the events.

"This eliminates her from consideration for President," Gallagher said.

Some Wisconsin members of Ryan's caucus say they're sticking with Trump.

That includes U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, though the Wausau Republican called Trump's comments "reprehensible."

"I never endorsed Donald Trump because of his stance on women or his family values," Duffy said in a statement. "I endorsed him for his policies -- defeating ISIS, securing our border, and growing our economy. Four years of Hillary Clinton would be unacceptable."

U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner said in a statement he supports Trump because a Clinton presidency "would have a devastating and far-reaching impact on the future of our country." Sensenbrenner said she'd increase spending and bureaucracy, make the country less safe and pack the federal courts with "judges with no respect for Constitutional rights or checks on government power."

"Mr. Trump is an imperfect nominee, but Hillary Clinton is a bet America cannot afford to make," the Menomonee Falls Republican said.

U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, did not return messages seeking comment.

GOP U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble, who is retiring, was one of the first Republican members of Congress to say he wouldn't back Trump as the party's nominee.

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