As the battle over the Republican Party's new health care plan grows more heated, Breitbart News has released an audio tape of House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin from October 2016 in which he said he would not support then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, "not now, not in the future."
Ryan reportedly made the statement during a conference call with House Republicans shortly after the leak of a 2005 "Access Hollywood" clip in which Trump infamously described groping women, CNN reports. During the call, Ryan said Trump's comments did not reflect the "principles and values" of the Republican Party.
Ryan's comments condemning the Trump clip were widely reported at the time the call took place, though the audio was only released by Breitbart in March 2017.
"I am not going to defend Donald Trump -- not now, not in the future," Ryan said in the tape. He added that the "last thing" he wanted was for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to win the presidency, but encouraged representatives to "do what you think is best and do what you feel you need to do."
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"And the last thing we need is four more years of Obama policies or two years of a Clinton presidency with a Democrat Congress," said Ryan to the representatives. "Could you imagine what that would look like? So the last thing we want to be doing is giving Hillary Clinton a blank check in Congress."
"So, I want to do what’s best for our members, and I think this is the right thing to do. I’m going to focus my time on campaigning for House Republicans," said Ryan, who added that he had "real concerns" about Trump as the GOP nominee, Salon reports.
Breitbart has been vocal about its opposition to Ryan's health care plan, calling it "House Speaker Paul Ryan's Obamacare 2.0 plan." Steve Bannon, the current White House strategist who formerly served as the site's executive chair, reportedly often called Ryan "the enemy" during his time at Breitbart.
A spokesman for the House speaker told Breitbart that "the world is well aware" of Ryan's comments.
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Spokesman Brendan Buck affirmed that Ryan's comments came in response to the "Access Hollywood" Trump recordings. Buck added that after the conference call, Ryan and Trump "came together" during the campaign.
"This was in response to that, but as everyone knows, they came together toward the end of the campaign and the speaker vocally supported him and even campaigned with Pence," Buck said.