Following House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) announcement that he would no longer defend or campaign with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, right-wing media figures harshly criticized him and other Republicans, calling them “weasels,” and “weak, feckless, timid, spineless” Republicans.
Speaker Paul Ryan And Republican Leaders Distance Themselves From Trump
CNN: Speaker Paul Ryan “Will No Longer Defend Donald Trump.” Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) told congressional Republicans on an October 10 conference call that he would “no longer defend Donald Trump and will instead use the next 29 days to focus on preserving his party’s hold on Congress,” CNN reported. The article noted that Ryan’s move is “highly unusual in US political history” and that it illuminated “the seemingly intractable divisions now seizing the Republican Party.” From the October 11 article:
House Speaker Paul Ryan dealt his own party's presidential nominee a withering blow Monday, telling fellow Republicans he will no longer defend Donald Trump and will instead use the next 29 days to focus on preserving his party's hold on Congress.
“The speaker is going to spend the next month focused entirely on protecting our congressional majorities,” Ryan's spokeswoman, AshLee Strong, said in a statement.
The move -- highly unusual in US political history -- laid bare the seemingly intractable divisions now seizing the Republican Party with a month left before the presidential vote. Support for Trump among the GOP establishment, already weak amid disagreements over policy and tone, has now eroded to new lows.
In a conference call with members Monday morning, Ryan told lawmakers, “you all need to do what's best for you and your district,” according to someone who listened to the meeting. [CNN.com, 10/10/16]
Right-Wing Media Figures Lash Out At “Weak, Feckless” Republicans For Leaving Trump
Joe Scarborough: The “Weasels That Have Slipped Away” From Trump “In The Republican Party Will Come Right Back” If Trump’s Polling Improves. MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said that if Trump is polling more favorably a week after October 11’s edition of Morning Joe, that “a lot of these weasels that have slipped away from him in the Republican Party will come right back.” Scarborough said being “weasels” has been Republicans’ “biggest problem all along”:
MIKE BARNICLE: The House, the idea that the House would go Democratic, is truly shocking. I mean, and it gives voice to the depth of what Trump has done to the Republican Party in this campaign, which again, the question that I just posed, what happens to that party after election day?
JOE SCARBOROUGH (CO-HOST): Well let's see, it's October 11th, everybody is talking about like the election’s today. Let's see what it looks like on October 18th, and if Trump's closer, then a lot of these weasels that have slipped away from him in the Republican Party will come right back. That's been their biggest problem all along, they've been weasels. If Trump looks popular for their people, they support him, and when he looks a little less popular, they run away. We'll see if they run back. [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 10/11/16]
Sean Hannity: “This Republican Party Of Weak, Feckless, Timid, Spineless Republicans Is Dead.” Sean Hannity opined that “Paul Ryan and these weak Republicans” have been tougher on Trump than they have been on President Obama. Hannity called Ryan and other Republicans who have given up on defending Trump “phony” and “so weak” before declaring that the “Republican Party of weak, feckless, timid, spineless Republicans is dead.” From the October 10 edition of The Sean Hannity Show:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): You know what bothers me the most about Paul Ryan and these weak Republicans? They are tougher against Donald Trump than these weaklings ever have been against Obama, and if they're offended by Trump's words, why haven't any of them spoken out about Bill and Hillary's actions towards women? They're a bunch of phony -- I mean I can't take it anymore. They are so weak that Obama got his entire agenda passed. He got to double the debt mostly with Republican help. He got to keep Obamacare because they didn't want to fight and get blamed for a government shutdown. They got unconstitutional, illegal executive orders on amnesty because they didn't want to fight there either.
This Republican Party of weak, feckless, timid, spineless Republicans is dead. Nobody likes them anymore. Nobody thinks much of them anymore. These are people that are in it just like the Democrats for their own personal political power. They like to be called congressman and senator. Well you're no good as a congressman or a senator unless you stand for something. Something. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 10/10/16]
Laura Ingraham: The “Kelly Ayottes, The Paul Ryans” In The GOP Are “Blowing Up The Republican Party,” Not Trump. Radio host and Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham told the hosts of Fox & Friends that the notion that Trump is “blowing up the Republican Party” is “a false narrative,” claiming that it's the “Kelly Ayottes, the Paul Ryans” of the party who are at fault. Ingraham said that if Ryan wants to focus on policy instead of winning he should just “go to a think tank and write articles all day long.”
STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): Laura, if the Republican establishment abandons Trump one month before the election and something bad happens, like he loses, bad to him and bad to the Republicans ultimately, the narrative is going to be they stabbed him in the back. How does the Republican Party recover? They’re not going to, they’re going to splinter.
LAURA INGRAHAM: You’re absolutely right. What they’ve been saying is Donald Trump is blowing up the Republican Party, and I say that is a false narrative. The people who are blowing up the Republican Party are the Kelly Ayottes, the Paul Ryans, all these other people who run to their friends in the press -- after Donald Trump has a strong debate performance -- they run to their friends in the press and say, “Ooh, let me tell you what is happening behind closed doors. There’s significant Republicans who are disgusted by Trump and they are not going to vote for him.”
Now, that’s what the Democrats never do. They never break ranks with their nominee. They never dump on their nominee in public to the media. Instead, they go to the press and say our candidate has the winning message, she’s a strong woman, and she's fighter, and she’s going to fight for Americans. So I think Paul Ryan and all these guys -- and I like Paul Ryan, by the way, personally. I think he’s a lovely individual. I love him as a person. This is not personal. This is political strategy and if you want to just have theories about how Jack Kemp, his policies are great and we need to go back to that, that's fine. Go to a think tank and write articles all day long. But if you’re working in politics, politics is about winning. If you don't win, you cease to be a party that is relevant in America. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 10/11/16]
Rush Limbaugh: “What Good” Is The Republican Party “If It Can’t Even Unify Around The Concept Of Winning?” Rush Limbaugh lashed out after Ryan’s decision to stop defending Trump, claiming that Republicans “apparently do not have even one thing in common that can unite” them. Limbaugh asked, “What good are we? What good is there a Republican Party if it cannot even unify around the concept of winning.” From the October 10 edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Rush Limbaugh Show:
RUSH LIMBAUGH (HOST): We can't even unify around the concept of defeating Democrats? What good are we? What good is there a Republican Party if it cannot even unify around the concept of winning? For crying out loud. Do you realize the left have factions that hate each other? They've got different coalitions that despise each other. There's all kinds of coalitions and they're all competing for as much of the federal money as they can get. The Democrat Party parcels it out on who knows what basis. But when it comes to stopping us they forget all of that and they unify around the singular objective of defeating us. We on our side apparently do not have even one thing in common that can unite us. Not even the desire to win. It boggles my mind and I know from where it comes. It comes from political post-traumatic stress disorder. It comes from years and years of fear of what the American voter thinks of you. It comes from a never-ending desire to somehow convince the American voters that you are not the reprobate that the Democrats have portrayed you to be. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 10/10/16]
Mike Huckabee: “Bed-Wetting, Hand-Wringing Republicans” Are More Afraid Of A Trump Win Than A Loss. Former Republican presidential candidate and Fox News contributor Mike Huckabee told Fox host Megyn Kelly that “bed-wetting, hand-wringing Republicans” are afraid of a Trump win because Trump would “mess up the neat little package of fun they have” playing to the donor class in Washington. From the October 10 edition of Fox News’ The Kelly File:
MEGYN KELLY (HOST): This is what we've heard from Trump supporters all along, that look, you may not love Donald Trump, but he won this thing fair and square, and if you don't get behind him and fight to the bitter end, it's going to cause recriminations in the party for years to come.
MIKE HUCKABEE: That’s exactly right. Let me tell you something. Here's a little secret, Megyn. A lot of these bed-wetting, hand-wringing Republicans, they're not afraid Donald Trump is going to lose, they're scared to death he's going to win. And if he wins, he is going to mess up the neat little package of fun they have because they all play to the donor class and Donald Trump is coming to make big changes in the way that these institutions go. [Fox News, The Kelly File, 10/10/16]
CNN’s Corey Lewandowski: Trump Doesn’t Need Paul Ryan’s Support Because He’s An Insider And “Washington Has Failed.” Former Trump campaign manager and current CNN political commentator Corey Lewandowski told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota that the Trump campaign did not need Paul Ryan’s support because Ryan’s “entire adult political career has been inside Washington, D.C., and unfortunately, Washington has failed.” From the October 11 edition of CNN’s New Day:
COREY LEWANDOWSKI: Paul Ryan has not really been a steadfast supporter of Donald Trump from when the campaign has started. And what Paul Ryan has done is made his career in Washington, D.C., and that's perfectly acceptable, but this is about a change election. And if you're going to bring change to Washington, you want an outsider, and Paul Ryan for his entire adult political career has been inside Washington, D.C., and unfortunately, Washington has failed.
ALISYN CAMEROTA (CO-HOST): OK. So you don't think you need Paul Ryan? So in other words, the Trump campaign doesn't think the fact he says he can no longer publicly support Donald Trump and he's not going to go to rallies with him -- you don't think you need Paul Ryan?
LEWANDOWSKI: I think you need the people. You need the people who are going to show up and vote. [CNN, New Day, 10/11/16]