Donald Trump aggressively derided House Speaker Paul Ryan and other Republican leaders who’ve distanced themselves from his campaign following a leaked audio tape of him boasting about groping, kissing, and forcing himself on women.
Trump took to Twitter to blast Ryan, R-Wis., and other Republicans as disloyal cowards who will pay a political price.
“Disloyal R's are far more difficult than Crooked Hillary,” Trump tweeted. “They come at you from all sides. They don’t know how to win - I will teach them.”
Trump’, in his Twitter barrage, also reaffirmed his belief that his 2005 comments about his behavior toward women - which former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said describes sexual assault - was nothing more than locker room banter.
“The very foul-mouthed Sen. John McCain begged for my support during his primary (I gave, he won), then dropped me over locker room remarks!” Trump wrote in an afternoon post on Twitter.
Trump branded Ryan as a “weak and ineffective leader.” He complained that “Despite winning the second debate in a landslide (every poll), it is hard to do well when Paul Ryan and others give zero support.”
In another message, he declared that “It’s so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to.”
Focusing on Ryan again, Trump tweeted that “Our very weak and ineffective leader, Paul Ryan, had a bad conference call where his members went wild at his disloyalty.”
Ryan, in a conference call with House Republicans Monday, said he would not defend Trump anymore and would try instead to make sure that Hillary Clinton, if elected president, “doesn’t get a blank check” with a Democratic-led Congress.
"Paul Ryan is focusing the next month on defeating Democrats and all Republicans running for office should probably do the same,” Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck said in a statement Tuesday.
But some Republicans remain firmly behind Trump. Diana Orrock, the Republican National Committee Nevada chair, said “If Trump we don’t have Trump in the White House, nothing else matters.”
“We just had part of our Nevada delegation who’s running withdraw their endorsement for Trump and I am going on the record and withdrawing my support for them,” Orrock said on CNBC. “Let the chips fall where they may.”
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said he thinks Republican lawmakers and leaders who are moving away from are making a big mistake.
“I think if we support our presidential candidate and the platform and the agenda, then that lifts everybody up,” King said on CNN’s “New Day.” “The better Donald Trump does, the better everybody out here on the ticket does all across America.”