Audio of Republican Majority Leader Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin saying he would refuse to "defend" Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign has been leaked to the media.
The audio (below), which is from a conference call between Wisconsin Republicans and Ryan on Oct. 10, 2016, soon after the leaking of Trump's 2005 comments recorded on a hot mic on the set of "Access Hollywood" were leaked to the press, was first reported by Breitbart News.
"His comments are not anywhere in keeping with our party’s principles and values," Ryan said in the audio, referring to Trump's Access Hollywood comments. "There are basically 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."
At the time of the phone call, Trump was under fire for making sexist remarks about women in between shoots during an "Access Hollywood" taping.
In the conversation with the show's former host, Billy Bush, Trump talked about how he approaches women he's attracted to.
"You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful -- I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait," Trump said, according to a transcript of the conversation published by The New York Times. "And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the p****. You can do anything."
In the leaked phone call, Ryan went on to say that he disinvited Trump from an annual GOP summit and would refuse to campaign for him during the last days of the heated election between Trump and former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
But the hostility between Ryan and Trump during the campaign was well-known, with Ryan waiting several weeks to endorse the GOP nominee and then openly refusing to campaign for him, leading Trump to fire off a tweet alleging the House Republican was "fighting" him.
"Paul Ryan should spend more time on balancing the budget, jobs and illegal immigration and not waste his time on fighting Republican nominee," Trump tweeted on Oct. 10, which is the same day the leaked phone call was recorded.
Although Ryan refused to campaign for Trump, he admitted the "last thing" the GOP wanted to see was Clinton take the White House. But instead of helping Trump defeat her, he said he'd spend his time making sure Republicans retain their majority in Congress so that Clinton wouldn't get a "blank check" if she were to win.
"Look, she’s a failed progressive. She’s running an abysmal campaign. I mean, it’s just -- it’s amazing how easily she could be beaten," Ryan said. "She will take this country in the wrong direction. And the last thing we need is four more years of Obama policies or two years of a Clinton presidency with a Democrat Congress. 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."