Reflecting the growing and acrimonious divisions within the Republican Party over its embattled healthcare plan, the far-right-wing news outlet Breitbart, previously headed by White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon, has published an audio recording of an October conference call in which House Speaker Paul Ryan says he would never defend then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Speaker Paul Ryan: “There are two things that I want to make really clear, as for myself, as your speaker. I am not going to defend Donald Trump—not now, not in the future. As you probably heard, I disinvited him from my first congressional district GOP event this weekend, a thing I do every year. And I’m not going to be campaigning with him over the next 30 days.”
Speaker Ryan’s comments came after the release of the 2005 videotape recorded by NBC’s “Access Hollywood” showing Trump boasting about sexually assaulting women.
Donald Trump: “I’ve got to use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. I just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”
Billy Bush: “Whatever you want.”
Donald Trump: “Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”
Despite Speaker Ryan’s pledge during the conference call, he began working with President Trump immediately after the November election, vowing to help lead a “unified Republican government.”