After former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin announced she would be backing House Speaker Paul Ryan’s primary opponent, Paul Nehlen, in Ryan’s race for re-election, some wondered if Ryan would be rattled.
If he is, he sure isn’t letting on.
When asked about whether cared to comment about Palin’s announcement during an interview with Wisconsin radio station WTMJ, Ryan replied “Not really. Look, people in Wisconsin know me well. I really don’t have anything to say only that my focus is on the people of this district and unifying the Republican Party upon a core set of principles. … I don’t really worry too much about outside agitation.”
Ryan’s refusal to endorse Donald Trump “at this time” set off a firestorm, with several prominent Republicans criticizing the speaker for not getting behind the presumptive GOP nominee.
On the flipside, numerous conservative commentators praised Ryan for refusing to bend to his core values in order to endorse Trump, including Steve Hayes of The Weekly Standard, who told Fox News’ Bret Baier, “It’s fair to say that we don’t know what Donald Trump would do if he were president, really on any issue. But he has repeatedly said, back in 2012, campaigning again in the debates, that he opposes Paul Ryan-style entitlement reform. And Chris Christie, it’s unclear to me why he has these questions, I mean why this is so strange to him. Chris Christie ran for president and his main issue was entitlement reform, said it was the most important single thing. And then he went out and after he dropped out and he endorsed a candidate who opposes entitlement reform. Now the reason that Paul Ryan has concerns, it might come as news to Chris Christie, is because Paul Ryan has principles. He actually meant it when he said he wanted to reform entitlements.”
For their part, Ryan and Trump are reportedly set to meet in Washington on Thursday in an attempt to put the bad blood aside and work together.