Breitbart, the right-wing news website previously run by White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, has released an audio that it says was recorded before the election, in which House Speaker Paul Ryan says he would never defend the then-Republican nominee for president.
“I am not going to defend Donald Trump — not now, not in the future,” Ryan can be heard saying in the audio.
“His comments are not anywhere in keeping with our party’s principles and values,” Ryan says. “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. As you probably heard, I disinvited him from my first congressional district GOP event this weekend — a thing I do every year. And I’m not going to be campaigning with him over the next 30 days.”
Ryan's disgruntlement with Trump the candidate was not exactly a secret. Ryan relentlessly promoted his own agenda during the campaign, trying to distance himself as much as possible from his party's nominee.
“Look, you guys know I have real concerns with our nominee,” Ryan says on the recording. “I hope you appreciate that I’m doing what I think is best for you, the members, not what’s best for me. 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."
Asked to comment on the audio, a Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck told Breitbart News, “The world is well aware of this history.” Buck later clarified that Ryan was speaking specifically in the context of the "Access Hollywood" tape.
“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 [Mike] Pence,” Buck wrote in an email to Breitbart.
Listen to the audio below: