House Speaker distances himself from Trump

Paul Ryan, the top Republican in Congress, distances himself from Republican candidate following controversial video.

Ben Ariel ,

Paul Ryan
Paul Ryan

House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, the top Republican in Congress, on Monday distanced himself from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Reuters reported.

In a conference call with congressional Republicans, Ryan all but conceded that Democrat Hillary Clinton was likely to win the White House on November 8 and said he would put his full energy into preserving Republican majorities in Congress so as not to give her a "blank check", according to the news agency.

He added he would not defend Trump or campaign for him after the uproar over the New York businessman's lewd comments on women that surfaced on Friday.

Trump hit back at Ryan, who was the Republican vice presidential candidate in 2012, and who has frequently been critical of 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 wrote on Twitter.

Ryan, who had expressed disgust over the tape and canceled a campaign event with Trump at the weekend, did not completely cut ties to Trump. The speaker went back on the Republican conference call later to clarify that he was not withdrawing his endorsement.

Ryan declared his support for Trump in June after originally saying he was “not quite ready” to endorse the billionaire, but he has been critical of him at times.

Trump’s remarks have been condemned by members of his own party, including Arizona Senator John McCain and Ohio Governor John Kasich, but the Republican nominee has stressed that there is “zero chance” he would drop out of the race.

Meanwhile, a poll taken immediately after Trump’s controversial video was released found that Trump's support among Republican voters has not been affected much by the controversy.