In an audio file released Monday by Breitbart News, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) can be heard in an October 2016 conference call claiming to fellow Republicans that he would never defend then-presidential candidate Donald Trump again.
The call included Ryan and members of the House Republican Conference and was recorded shortly after the Access Hollywood tapes of Trump making untoward remarks about women became public. At the time, many Republicans were demanding that Trump drop out of the presidential race.
“I am not going to defend Donald Trump—not now, not in the future,” Ryan says in the audio.
According to Breitbart, the October conference call was open to House Republican members. It is unclear who was present on the call, or whether participants were aware that the call was being recorded.
“Look, you guys know I have real concerns with our nominee,” Ryan said. “This is going to be a turbulent month. Many of you on this call are facing tough reelections. Some of you are not. But with respect to Donald Trump, I would encourage you to do what you think is best and do what you feel you need to do. Personally, you need to decide what’s best for you. And you all know what’s best for you where you are.”
Prior to assuming his role as chief executive of the Trump campaign, White House strategist Stephen Bannon was the former executive chairman of Breitbart News, an organization which has clashed with Ryan in the past.
H/T: The Hill
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