Note to establishment Republicans: No matter how powerful you are, it’s inadvisable to anger the Mama Grizzly. Yes, that even includes you, Paul Ryan.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin formally endorsed the speaker of the House’s primary challenger, Paul Nehlen, in a Facebook post Sunday.
Palin was an early endorser of Donald Trump, and has called for party unity for the presumptive nominee. She’s reserved especial venom for those who have refused to endorse his candidacy.
“Rep. Paul Ryan abandoned the district he was to represent as special interests dictated his legislative priorities,” Palin wrote of the Wisconsin congressman.
“Without ever having a real job outside of politics, it seems he disconnected himself from the people, thus easily disrespected the will of the people. It’s time for a change. I’m supporting the independent conservative businessman, Paul Nehlen, to return the House Speakership to ‘We The People.’”
Palin also offered her support to Nehlen during an appearance on CNN, predicting that Ryan would lose his seat.
“I think Paul Ryan is soon to be ‘Cantored,’ as in Eric Cantor,” Palin said.
Cantor, a Republican representative from Virginia, was the former House majority leader. He was widely considered to be a favorite to replace John Boehner as speaker were Boehner to step down. However, Cantor lost his seat in the 2014 GOP primary to a challenger who argued the establishment figure was too liberal, especially on immigration and trade.
Palin said Ryan might face similar problems; she told host Jake Tapper that Ryan’s “political career is over but for a miracle, because he has so disrespected the will of the people, and as the leader of the GOP — the convention — certainly he is to remain neutral, and for him to already come out and say who he will not support was not a wise decision of his.”
She added that she thought Ryan’s decision to withhold his endorsement from Trump was done out of political expediency, not personal convictions.
“I think why Paul Ryan is doing this, Jake, is it kind of screws his chances for the 2020 presidential bid that he is gunning for. If the GOP were to win now, that wouldn’t bode well for his chances,” Palin said.
“A lot of people with their ‘Never Trump’ or ‘Not Right Now Trump’ mantra going on, they have their different reasons. That one is Paul Ryan’s reason.”
Nehlen’s candidacy has gotten a lot of play from conservative media as of late, mostly because of Ryan’s perceived drift to the left. Attention doesn’t necessarily equate to success, however; and no reliable poll data exists in the race, but Speaker Ryan had a 76 percent statewide approval rating in a March poll, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (via the Appleton Post-Courier).
In addition, Ryan’s withholding of his endorsement might not hurt in his Wisconsin congressional district, where Texas Sen. Ted Cruz beat Donald Trump by a robust 51 to 32 percent, according to The Associated Press.
However, once the Mama Grizzly gets her heckles up, I would hate to be in her way — even if I had the speaker’s bench to hide behind.
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