Donald Trump declared war on the Republican establishment Tuesday, lashing out at House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.), Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and other GOP elected officials as his supporters geared up to join the fight amid extraordinary turmoil within the party just four weeks before Election Day.
One day after Ryan announced he would no longer campaign on Trump’s behalf, the GOP nominee said as part of a barrage of tweets that the top-ranking Republican is “weak and ineffective” and is providing “zero support” for his candidacy. Trump also declared that “the shackles have been taken off” him, liberating him to “fight for America the way I want to.”
Trump called McCain “foul-mouthed” and accused him with no evidence of once begging for his support. McCain, the party’s 2008 presidential nominee, pulled his endorsement following a Friday Washington Post report about a 2005 video in which Trump is heard making vulgar comments about forcing himself on women sexually.
“I wouldn’t want to be in a foxhole with a lot of these people, that I can tell you . . . especially Ryan,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News Channel. He said if he is elected president, Ryan might be “in a different position.”
In perhaps the most piercing insult, Trump said his party is harder to deal with than even Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, whom conservatives loathe. Yet he also released a new TV ad featuring footage of Clinton coughing and stumbling during a recent bout with pneumonia — signaling that few issues are out of bounds for his scorched-earth campaign.