The Donald Trump campaign laid down the gauntlet following Sunday night's debate.
“I certainly hope Speaker Ryan keeps his word and his endorsement of Donald Trump,” Kellyanne Conway said on “CBS This Morning” -- an aspiration she delivered with a veiled threat.
“Speaker Ryan, of course, took to the stage in Wisconsin in his event and faced some boos from the crowd because those who were [there] expected to see Donald Trump," Conway added. "But we’re happy the speaker of the House has endorsed the nominee Donald Trump.”
Paul Ryan picked it up.
That was in a Monday morning conference call Ryan held with Republican House members. Going into the call, the problem for Republicans was clear: Trump is destroying the party and has put the Republican House majority in jeopardy.
"I think they all face the same dilemma to varying degrees," a senior House Republican leadership aide said, echoing the sentiment of multiple high-level aides and lawmakers interviewed by POLITICO. "How to express displeasure in a meaningful way... How best to help members in tough races... How to try to rebuild the party post the anticipated apocalypse. I think they are all having individual and group discussions wrestling with this."
The big question for Ryan (well, one of the big ones—the other is if and when he's going to rescind his own endorsement) is if this isn't too late. He's anticipating that the floodgates of disastrous Trump tapes and tweets and statements is just beginning, because of course it is. It isn't a question of the other shoe dropping, it's the question of how many shoes are in Trump's closet to be tumbling out in the next month.
But there's danger in this, danger that Conway made clear: Trump is more than willing to start a Republican civil war. The base—the deplorables that the Republican party has allowed to take over the grassroots—are only cementing in their support for Trump. If he tells them to reject the Republicans who are refusing to support him, that's just what they're going to do.
It's going to be war in the GOP for the next month. Which is no more than they deserve.
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