Donald Trump refuses to throw support behind Republicans Paul Ryan, John McCain
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has decided not to get behind some powerful Republicans in their upcoming primaries.
Trump said Tuesday he will not back House Speaker Paul Ryan or longtime Sen. John McCain.
Trump told the Washington Post Tuesday Ryan has asked for an endorsement, which he is still considering.
“I like Paul, but these are horrible times for our country,” Trump said. “We need very strong leadership. We need very, very strong leadership. And I’m just not quite there yet. I’m not quite there yet.”
Ryan never sought Trump’s endorsement, his spokesman said.
“Neither Speaker Ryan nor anyone on his team has ever asked for Donald Trump’s endorsement,” said Zack Roday, Ryan’s campaign spokesman. “And we are confident in a victory next week regardless.”
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Ryan’s primary is Aug. 9. He is heavily-favoured over Paul Nehlen, who has thrown his support directly behind Trump.
Trump issued a tweet thanking Nehlen for his support Sunday.
Trump’s words echo similar statements the Wisconsin Republican used several months ago in withholding his endorsement of Trump before relenting weeks later with tepid support.
Trump also declined to back McCain, a prisoner of war in Vietnam who released a lengthy statement criticizing Trump’s continued squabble with Muslim American parents whose son was killed in Iraq.
“I haven’t endorsed John McCain,” Trump told the Washington Post in a lunchtime interview Tuesday.
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“I’ve never been there with John McCain because I’ve always felt that he should have done a much better job for the vets,” Trump continued. “He has not done a good job for the vets and I’ve always felt that he should have done a much better job for the vets. So I’ve always had a difficult time with John for that reason, because our vets are not being treated properly. They’re not being treated fairly.”
Trump criticized New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who also admonished Trump for his comments.
Ayotte, who is running for a second Senate term and skipped the Republican National Convention, Trump said: “You have a Kelly Ayotte who doesn’t want to talk about Trump, but I’m beating her in the polls by a lot.”
“We need loyal people in this country,” Trump added in the interview. “We need fighters in this country. We don’t need weak people.”
McCain is a locked in a three-way race ahead of an August 30 primary. Ayotte’s primary is next month.
All three have said they would support Trump as the GOP presidential nominee.
Trump’s refusal to back the incumbents is a breach of political decorum that comes just two weeks after a convention designed to showcase party unity.
With files from Associated Press
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