GOP candidate Donald Trump responded furiously on 11 October 2016 to a New York Times report that House Speaker Paul Ryan had held a conference call with other Republican leaders, urging them to focus on winning down-ticket races and vowing never to campaign for the controversial presidential nominee:
Mr. Ryan informed Republican lawmakers on a morning conference call that he would never again campaign for Mr. Trump and would dedicate himself instead to defending the party’s majority in Congress, according to five lawmakers who participated in the call and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Effectively conceding defeat for his party in the presidential race, Mr. Ryan said his most urgent task was ensuring that Hillary Clinton did not take the helm with Democratic control of the House and Senate, two lawmakers said.
The U.S. representative from Wisconsin was one of two prominent Republicans that Trump attacked in a morning Twitter tirade, in the latest sign that the bombastic reality television star is growing a wider gap between himself and the party establishment. Trump also called Arizona Sen. John McCain “foul mouthed” and lambasted him for turning his back on Trump over a recently-leaked audio tape.
“Our very weak and ineffective leader, Paul Ryan, had a bad conference call where his members went wild at his disloyalty,” Trump tweeted, then followed up with, “It is so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to.”
Trump has been on the receiving end of fall-out from a leaked tape that revealed him making lewd remarks about women while en route to film an “Access Hollywood” segment in 2005. He was caught on a hot microphone saying, among other comments:
And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything… Grab them by the p—y, you can do anything.
The disclosure of the audio tape has prompted members of Trump’s own party to distance themselves from him. Ryan had cancelled a planned rally and publicly castigated Trump over the comments, while McCain said he wouldn’t vote for either Trump or his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, and would instead write in the name of his friend, Sen. Lindsey Graham.