The Republican presidential nominee and the House speaker have had a tortured relationship with each other all year. After Trump became the GOP’s presumptive candidate, Ryan held off on endorsing him for several weeks.
And after Ryan did make that endorsement — in a low-key local newspaper column — he continued to criticize Trump for his insults of a federal judge and the family of a soldier killed in Iraq, among other instances. Trump retaliated by initially declining to endorse Ryan before his Wisconsin congressional primary.
This all came to a head in the days after the release of a decade-old Access Hollywood tape showing Trump bragging about groping and kissing women without their permission. Ryan didn’t unendorse Trump, but he told fellow House Republicans he’d no longer campaign for or defend the nominee.
Since that moment, several Republicans have walked back their condemnations of Trump. Tightening national polls certainly played a role in that, too — it’s much more strategic to distance yourself from someone losing in a landslide than someone who’s just a few points back in the race.
But Ryan told Fox News on Tuesday morning that he has already cast his ballot, and that he cast it for Trump. “I already voted here in Janesville for our nominee last week, in early voting,” he told Fox & Friends. “We need to support our entire Republican ticket.”
One reason he gave was the ongoing controversy over Hillary Clinton’s private email server. “The point I keep trying to make to younger voters who did not live through the 1990s — this is what life with the Clintons looks like,” Ryan said. “There’s always a scandal, one after another. Then there’s an investigation.”
Clinton allies would say the vast majority of those investigations — from the initial Whitewater probe to the eventual …