Sarah Palin says she’ll help oust Paul Ryan over Trump

Louis Weisberg, Staff writer

Donald Trump is a thorn in the side of Republicans up and down the party’s November ticket, but perhaps none is feeling the prick more than House Speaker Paul Ryan.

The Wisconsin congressman has taken hits from both sides of the political aisle since saying last week that he was “not ready” to endorse Trump for president.

Ryan is the highest-ranking member of Congress to say outright that he’s not comfortable supporting the presumptive Republican nominee. Even former GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, whom Trump ridiculed for being captured and tortured while serving in Vietnam, has said he’d support Trump.

Today, in what was positioned as a conciliatory move, Ryan told Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Christian Schneider that he’d step down as chair of the Republican National Convention if Trump asked him. The two men are planning to meet on Thursday in an effort to mend fences. Ryan has said previously that he could support Trump if convinced that the reality TV star could unite the party.

Meanwhile, Trump supporters are expressing outrage over Ryan’s reticence. Former GOP vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin is working actively to help defeat Ryan in his congressional re-election bid.

Palin threw her support behind Trump in January, becoming the highest-profile Republican at that time to back the billionaire.

Speaking with CNN’s Jake Tapper on State of the Union yesterday, Palin said Ryan “is soon to be ‘Cantored,’” referring to right-wing former Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who in 2014 was ousted from his seat representing a Virginia district by a tea party challenger who ran to the right of him.

“(Ryan’s) political career is over but for a miracle because he has so disrespected the will of the people, and as the leader of the GOP, the convention, certainly he is to remain neutral, and for him to already come out and say who he will not support is not a wise decision of his,” Palin told Tapper.

Political observers, however, give Ryan’s challenger Paul Nehlen little chance of defeating Ryan, who’s represented Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District since 2000. The district covers Kenosha and Racine counties, as well as portions of surrounding counties.

Nehlen, an entrepreneur and inventor, said he’d back whoever emerges as the GOP nominee. “I’ll support the choice of the voters,” he said in a press statement.

“Paul Ryan has been on the #NeverTrump team. He’s been on the #NeverCruz team. He’s been on the #Never RandPaul team,” Nehlen said in a press statement. “It’s clear that he’s right out in front of the establishment’s #OnlyMe team. The people have spoken. But Paul Ryan somehow thinks that the People are incompetent and that GOP elites should step in and guide them. The last time I checked, we lived in a representative republic. Paul Ryan seems to think we’re living in an oligarchy.

On his website, Nehlen urges voters to “stop Paul Ryan’s cronyism and corruption.”

In addition to Palin, inflammatory right-wing commentator Michelle Malkin also supports Nehlen. She’s appearing at an event for him on Fri., May 27, in Pleasant Prairie.

Wisconsin Democrats weigh in

On the other side of the political aisle, Democrats are attacking Ryan for refusing to denounce Trump.

“Even Speaker Paul Ryan, the highest ranking elected leader in the Republican Party, can’t bring himself to denounce dangerous Donald Trump’s pursuit of the presidency,” said Wisconsin Democratic Party leaders in a press release.

“If you don’t say I am against Trump, then you’re for him,” said Brandon Weathersby, communication director of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. “Silence is a tacit endorsement.”

WisDems has slammed Gov. Scott Walker for indicating that he’d support Trump after throwing his perceived clout with voters behind Sen. Ted Cruz in the Wisconsin Republican primary. Cruz lost badly.

“I will support the Republican running against Hillary Clinton in the fall, whoever that is,” Walker told reporters on April 13, according to the Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.

Other Republican leaders in the state who’ve said they’d support Trump include Sen. Ron Johnson, Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, and Rep. Kathy Bernier, who is WisGOP’s 3rd Congressional District Chair.

“Donald Trump’s dangerous, sexist, racist, and xenophobic rhetoric didn’t stop Republican leaders in Wisconsin from eagerly jumping on the Trump train,” said WisDems chair Martha Laning.

“Throughout the entire primary season, Democrats have acted presidential, sharing ideas on how to make the economy work for everyone, make higher education affordable, raise wages for workers, increase access to quality and affordable healthcare, and invest in hard-working families through paid family leave,” Laning said in a prepared statement. “Any responsible leader can see that Donald Trump is dangerous and lacks both the judgement and the temperament to be president. His nomination is a result of the Republicans elevating extreme voices and using divisive campaigns for years that sought to exploit unfounded fears for political gain. Republicans in Wisconsin should rip up their tickets to the Trump Train.”