Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Tuesday on Fox News that he voted for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during early voting in what was one of the few — if not the only — times the Wisconsin Republican has publicly uttered Trump’s name since announcing three weeks ago that he wouldn’t defend or campaign with Trump.
“I stand where I’ve stood all fall and all summer,” Ryan said when asked by “Fox & Friends” host Steve Doocy where he stands on voting for and endorsing Trump. “In fact, I already voted here in Janesville for our nominee last week in early voting. We need to support our entire Republican ticket.”
Ryan had never revoked his endorsement of Trump but he distanced himself from the nominee after a 2005 video emerged of Trump joking about groping and kissing women without their consent. Since then, Ryan has largely avoided the national media so he would not have to talk about the billionaire mogul.
Trump is scheduled to campaign in Wisconsin on Tuesday but Ryan will not be present. “I just heard about it about 10 minutes ago, actually,” he told the “Fox & Friends” hosts. “I didn’t know that.”
The speaker said he is “criss-crossing the country,” campaigning for House Republicans with stops in Indiana, Michigan and New York on Tuesday alone.
“My job is to make sure Nancy Pelosi does not return as speaker of the House,” Ryan said. “And it’s also to help all Republicans, make sure they go vote, turn out. And that helps every Republican up and down the ticket.”
Democrat Hillary Clinton getting elected president along with a Democratic Congress would be “the worst of all possible things,” he said.
Ryan also addressed the speculation that some conservative members of his conference may try to prevent him from being re-elected speaker, saying that will sort itself out after the election.
“I’m very confident where I stand with our members,” he said.
Asked if he would step aside if that were the will of his conference, Ryan implied he would, saying, “I serve at the pleasure of our members.”
Ryan also addressed the Clinton email situation, saying, “It’s sort of a feeling of deja vu” for people who lived in the 1990s.
“This is what life with the Clintons looks like,” he said. “It’s always a scandal, one after another. Then there’s an investigation. And what happens … is you never know what’s coming next.”