The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican lawmakers should follow their conscience on whether to support Donald Trump in November’s presidential election, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan has said in an interview, reflecting the party’s unease over its White House candidate.

“The last thing I would do is tell anybody to do something that’s contrary to their conscience. Of course I wouldn’t do that,” the Republicans’ most senior elected official said in excerpts released on Friday of an NBC interview set to air on Sunday.

Some Republican leaders and lawmakers in the House of Representatives are struggling to get behind the New York businessman, who last month became the party’s presumptive nominee for the Nov. 8 election.

After an initial delay, Ryan has said he will back Trump but he has also acknowledged deep differences with him. He denounced as textbook racism Trump’s criticism of a Mexican-American judge and has also criticized Trump’s proposal – reiterated after the massacre of 49 people in a gay bar in Orlando on Sunday – to temporarily bar Muslims from the United States.

As Republicans seek to keep control of both chambers of Congress, Trump’s comments on such issues have also worried some lawmakers concerned about their own election prospects, particularly in close races. All 247 House Republican seats are up for grabs in the election.

Trump, who has welcomed support from Ryan, this week fired back at Republican leaders, telling them to stop speaking out against him or else risk him potentially running “by myself.”

Ryan said earlier this week at his weekly press conference that he does not plan to withdraw his support of Trump, although they disagree on some key issues.

“I feel as a responsibility institutionally as the speaker of the House that I should not be leading some chasm in the middle of our party. Because you know what I know that’ll do? That’ll definitely knock us out of the White House,” Ryan said in the interview for NBC’s “Meet the Press” program.

Trump’s embrace this week of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and potential gun control measures, in contrast to general Republican orthodoxy have also thrown conservative lawmakers.

Still, Republican leaders have to reconcile their unease with the fact that primary Republican voters opted for Trump. He has never held elected office before but won more than enough delegates to secure the party’s nomination at the Republican convention in July.


(Writing by Susan Heavey; Additional reporting by Meg Garner; Editing by Frances Kerry)

Photo: U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) waits to meet India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi (not pictured), before Modi speaks at a joint meeting of Congress in the House Chamber in Capitol Hill, Washington, U.S., June 8, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria


Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Rep. Eric Swalwell
Rep. Eric Swalwell

Sorry, Donald. Screaming “planted evidence” isn’t going to distract anyone outside of MAGAland from the fact that the Trump team has the answer to why the FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago this week. They have a copy of that search warrant that explains precisely what the FBI was looking for. Search warrants spell out what law enforcement intends to search for and what laws officials believe may have been broken.

Claiming “fake documents” is just another way to cover up the crimes, and a remarkably transparent one—the fervor with which Republicans are jumping on that bandwagon (Sen. Rand Paul is the latest) shows just how worried they are about what the FBI found—as does the demand from Republicans that the Justice Department release all the information that led to the search.

Keep reading... Show less

Donald Trump

Youtube Screenshot

Former President Donald Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination on Wednesday when he was deposed by lawyers at the New York Attorney General’s office investigating whether the Trump Organization defrauded or misled lenders by tweaking the value of his properties and assets.

New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is leading the civil probe of Trump Organization, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. In a statement released shortly after he appeared, Trump defended his decision to invoke the right after years of insisting that only guilty parties plead the Fifth when under questioning.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ }}