- Jonathan Swan
- Mar 13
Breitbart leaks tape to divide Trump from Ryan
Breitbart News has published a leaked tape of Paul Ryan telling Republican House members he wouldn't defend Donald Trump over the "Access Hollywood" tape.
I am not going to defend Donald Trump—not now, not in the future.
Ryan continues in the tape: "As you probably heard, I disinvited him from my first congressional district GOP event this weekend—a thing I do every year. And I'm not going to be campaigning with him over the next 30 days."
Why this matters: The timing of the leak. Breitbart is echoing a strategy that we foreshadowed over the weekend: conservatives who want to kill the House Obamacare replacement plan are trying to sow divisions between Ryan and Trump. This tape dredges up painful old memories from the campaign trail of when Ryan abandoned Trump.
These conservatives know the President prizes personal loyalty over all else. Trump often talks about who was with him and who wasn't. In that frame — it's one thing for Trump to read about Ryan's words in the papers. It's quite another for him to hear the audio.