Donald Trump had some harsh words for Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan Tuesday morning, calling him a “very weak and ineffective leader” in a series of tweets, also admitting that it will be “hard to do well when Paul Ryan and others give zero support!”
He went on to say that the “shackles have been taken off” and he can now “fight for America” the way he wants to, and that, with the exception of Bernie Sanders, Democrats “have always proven to be far more loyal to each other than the Republicans.”
Trump has been bleeding support from the Republican establishment after the recent leak of a hot mic recording that captured him bragging about sexually assaulting women. Ryan’s spokesperson said the speaker will no longer defend Trump and would instead “spend the next month focused entirely on protecting our congressional majorities,” prompting Trump to renew his criticism of the Republican establishment’s abandoned support.
Our very weak and ineffective leader, Paul Ryan, had a bad conference call where his members went wild at his disloyalty.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2016
It is so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2016
With the exception of cheating Bernie out of the nom the Dems have always proven to be far more loyal to each other than the Republicans!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2016
Disloyal R's are far more difficult than Crooked Hillary. They come at you from all sides. They don’t know how to win - I will teach them!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2016
The Republican nominee is facing a huge loss in November, and it will be hard to win without the party establishment’s support. To date, more than 150 high-profile Republicans have unendorsed Trump, saying they will instead vote for Clinton, write in Pence, or just vote for down-ballot Republicans. Nearly one-third of Senate Republicans have withdrawn their support.
Despite winning the second debate in a landslide (every poll), it is hard to do well when Paul Ryan and others give zero support!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2016
But Trump didn’t win the second debate, just as he didn’t win the first, and again he resorted to citing some unscientific online polls.
The Trump campaign has been invested in presenting his first two debate performances as a success, even if more scientific polls point to Clinton wins. It resulted in a revealing exchange between NBC’s Chuck Todd and Trump campaign spokesperson Jason Miller.
Still, Trump continues to set up a narrative where he’s winning — completely divorced from reality — while preemptively blaming Ryan for his loss.
Trump has been campaigning against the Republican Party for a long time.
Trump has long said he feels his campaign is running against both Democrats and establishment Republicans — a divide that seems to deepen with every new Trump controversy and scandal.
"It's almost, in some ways, like I'm running against two parties," Trump told conservative talk radio host Mike Gallagher in June. And he’s still acting that way.
Any speculation that Trump would "change" for the general election proved improbable after the Republican and Democratic conventions, when Trump showed he had absolutely no intention of acting more “presidential.” And while Republicans hoping for some semblance of party unity, like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, found themselves condemning Trump’s inflammatory comments while still offering support, the hot mic scandal proved to be the final straw for many in the establishment.
The tensions have created a sharp divide in the Republican Party, with an electorate warring against the establishment. The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin articulated the repercussions for the GOP best:
The Fox TV audience/the talk show addicts/the birthers are incapable of sustaining viable candidates. The GOP as it is will never amount to an electoral majority, in part because what excites it turns off almost every other group. The crass, vulgar, angry and irrational mob that thrills when Trump acts like a madman is not a base around which a successful national party can be built. Know-nothingism, xenophobia and misogyny are enough to garner the GOP nomination, which explains why the GOP is unable to field a winning candidate.
While Trump’s contacts in the GOP establishment, including his running mate, Mike Pence, are still trying to keep the peace, it has become increasingly clear that Trump has no interest in placating other GOP politicians — and that many of his supporters are right there with him. But even Trump knows it’s not likely going to be a winning strategy.