WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday he will continue to speak out in defense of conservative principles, despite a warning from Donald Trump that Republican congressional leaders should “be quiet.”
GOP leaders “have to get a lot tougher and be quiet. Just please be quiet, don’t talk….we have to have our Republicans either stick together or let me just do it by myself. I’ll do very well,” the presumptive Republican presidential nominee said Wednesday.
The Wisconsin Republican says of Trump’s comments: “You can’t make this up sometimes.”
Ryan said Thursday that he and other congressional leaders “represent a separate but equal branch of government” and vowed to “robustly defend the separation of powers.”
In a fresh sign of the chilly relations between Trump and many Republicans in Congress, a 30-year House veteran and committee chairman, Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., said he will not endorse the billionaire presidential candidate.
Ryan said he was not bothered by Trump’s comment or continued questions from the news media seeking his reaction to Trump.
“He’s a different kind of candidate. This is a different kind of year. I’m going to be myself and speak up in defense of our principles, in defense of not just our party’s principles, but our country’s principles,” Ryan said, citing liberty, self-determination and the Bill of Rights.
“Those are very important principles. No matter what, we’re going to defend those principles,” he said.
Despite his differences with Trump — including opposition to Trump’s plan to ban all Muslim immigrants — Ryan said he has no plans to rescind his endorsement of the presumptive GOP nominee.
“I don’t have a plan to do that,” he said, adding that he and Trump inevitably will disagree — just as he sometimes disagreed with Mitt Romney when he was Romney’s vice presidential pick in 2012.
“That’s just the way things work,” Ryan said.
Even so, Ryan said he and Trump agree that neither one wants another Democrat in the White House. “And we do have a lot of common ground on a lot of things that we think will move us in a better way in this country,” he said.
“If I’m asked a question about a proposal (by Trump) that I don’t agree with, I’m going to say I don’t agree with it. It’s just that simple,” Ryan said.
Upton, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said Thursday that his decision to not back Trump would mark the first time in his three-decade congressional career that he was not endorsing the GOP presidential candidate.
He said in a brief interview that he was going to “stay in his lane” and run his own re-election campaign.