House Speaker Paul Ryan’s decision on Monday to stop defending or campaigning with Donald Trump (but not rescind his endorsement) has thrown the Republican Party into further chaos over how to handle the GOP presidential nominee amid sliding poll numbers. After the vulgar video released Friday of Trump using crude language to describe forcing himself on women, GOP lawmakers had to weigh their own electoral prospects against their comfort with Trump’s language and the good of the party. "It’s every person for himself or herself right now," former Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) told The Washington Post. "The nominee for president is so destructive to everyday Republicans."
Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus said Monday that the RNC will stick with Trump, but along with Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told a business group in Kentucky on Monday that if they wanted to hear his views on Trump, they "might as well go ahead and leave." "It is unprecedented in recent political history for a presidential nominee to be repudiated by his party’s congressional leadership," The Wall Street Journal reports. "Republicans have to reach back to 1964 to find an example of a nominee, Barry Goldwater, who wrought lasting divisions within the party."
Ryan and the horde of GOP lawmakers who publicly pulled their support for Trump over the weekend have faced pushback from Republican voters, among whom Trump still has a lot of support. The Trump campaign fired its Virginia organization chief, Corey Stewart, on Monday after he led a protest in front of the RNC, denouncing "those RNC-establishment pukes who have worked their way into the Trump campaign." Trump deputy campaign manager Dave Bossie called Stewart’s action an unsanctioned "stunt" and did not say who would run the Trump campaign in Virginia for the next 28 days. "My loyalty is not to political operatives," Stewart responded. "My loyalty is to Mr. Trump." Peter Weber