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martes, 11 de octubre de 2016
Inside Ryan's decision to (almost) dump Trump
The speaker might still fully rescind his endorsement before Nov. 8, sources told MARCA POLITICA
Paul Ryan said he would not campaign with Donald Trump or defend him anymore, and would instead focus on keeping Congress in Republican hands.
Paul Ryan may not be done yet.
As thoroughly as the House speaker shocked the national political establishment Monday by saying he's done with Donald Trump and it's time to focus on his House majority, there's a distinct possibility Ryan will go a step further and completely yank his endorsement, sources close to him told MARCA POLITICA.
In fact, Ryan has personally been on the edge of pulling the plug but has held out because his decision is about more than just his personal feelings: It's about saving his massive 60-seat majority. The Wisconsin Republican is in an excruciating spot: He feels torn between his own conscience and his obligations as the top Republican in the country, according to multiple sources in leadership familiar with the internal discussions.
Not to mention, nearly everyone in House Republican leadership believes there are more embarrassing revelations about Trump to come before Nov. 8.
Many of his closest allies say left to his own devices, he'd dump Trump. But Ryan, who's seen as a potential presidential candidate in 2020, has held on, despite some possible long-term political upside of abandoning Trump. The immediate calculation is this: If Ryan pulls his endorsement, the base could revolt or stay home on Election Day, damaging GOP House candidates. Plus, in some of the deep red districts around the country, constituents want House Republicans to rally around Trump no matter what.
The conundrum made for a dizzying 48 hours inside the GOP leadership, described here based on interviews with many top aides and lawmakers.
Trump lashes out at Ryan
By Kyle Cheney
Ryan was in Wisconsin, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy in his home state of California, attending an event with Bobby Jindal and Rick Perry. On Saturday, one day after The Washington Post released a video that had Trump talking about trying to lure a married woman into an affair and how he could grab women with impunity because he's a star, the leaders decided they needed to gather their membership for a conference call.
While the leaders were revolted by the "Access Hollywood" tape, they weren't sure how bad it would be for Trump and the larger Republican Party. After hearing from dozens of members, and watching many of their rank and file disavow Trump, Ryan and other senior Republicans knew they had to act.
Some leaders favored dumping Trump en masse immediately, according to sources involved in the talks. Others were reluctant to go that far, with a critical presidential debate looming on Sunday. Abandoning Trump as a bloc could backfire and cause even more harm to the House GOP majority than it would Trump. Though some House leaders talked on Saturday night, that strategy was never discussed among the entire team.
Ryan and his top lieutenants — chiefly McCarthy — decided to wait a little longer. After a round of internal discussions, they scheduled a party-wide conference call Monday morning, just hours after Trump’s debate with Hillary Clinton in St. Louis. It was a way to give Trump a final opportunity to show genuine contrition, and to demonstrate that he was serious about trying to appeal to independent voters crucial to the battle for the House, not just his die-hard fans. Basically, a last chance to prove to rank and file Republicans that he wasn't some huckster who had hijacked their party.
By Monday, the consensus — among lawmakers, aides and operatives — was clear. Trump had failed to meet those goals and instead, was ready to bring the party down around him.
On Monday morning, Ryan discussed the issue with members of his leadership team over the phone. And just after 11 a.m., he told the House Republican Conference he was essentially jettisoning Trump. Ryan would not campaign with Trump or defend him anymore; his focus was now on keeping Congress in Republican hands to serve as a check on a Clinton White House.