- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 4, 2016

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Thursday his focus is on securing endorsements from his own constituents ahead of a GOP primary contest Tuesday, after Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump declined earlier this week to give his support to Mr. Ryan.

“Honestly, the only endorsements … I want are those of my own employers here in the first congressional district, and that’s really what my focus is,” Mr. Ryan said on WTAQ Radio.

Mr. Ryan said businessman Paul Nehlen, his GOP primary opponent, is “desperate” and “making stuff up,” and pushed back against the notion that he wants open borders.

“I feel very good where I am,” he said. “The people here in Wisconsin know me — know me well.”

Mr. Ryan also acknowledged Mr. Trump has had a “strange run” since the Republican National Convention, but said he won the GOP presidential nomination “fair and square.”

“He won the delegates. He won the thing fair and square. It’s just that simple,” he said.

Mr. Ryan said Mr. Trump’s recent comments about the family of a fallen U.S. soldier — particularly Ghazala Khan, mother of Capt. Humayun Khan, who died in Iraq in 2004 — were “beyond the pale.”

He also pointed out that he spoke out after Mr. Trump had questioned whether Judge Gonzalo Curiel could fairly preside over a fraud case involving Trump University because of the judge’s Mexican heritage.

“I don’t like doing this. I don’t want to do this. But I will do this because I feel I have to in order to defend Republicans and our principles so that people don’t make the mistake of thinking we think like that,” Mr. Ryan said.

Asked if there would be a “bridge too far” for him, Mr. Ryan said of course there would be.

“That’s with any situation like this,” he said.

“We just came out of our convention and yeah, he’s had a pretty strange run since the convention,” Mr. Ryan said. “You would think we ought to be focusing on Hillary Clinton on all of her deficiencies.

“She is such a weak candidate that one would think we’d be on offense against Hillary Clinton, and it is distressing that that’s not what we’re talking about these days,” he said.

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