Did Paul Ryan Really Tell Republicans to ‘Vote Their Conscience’ On Donald Trump?


MSNBC is hyping something of a bombshell quote from Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan in chyrons and headlines that read “Ryan: Republicans Should Follow Conscience On Supporting Trump,” which would be a very damaging quote for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. It would seem to indicate a weakening of the support that Ryan continued to offer even as he labeled Trump’s rhetoric “textbook racism,” and that Ryan is signaling Republicans to abandon Trump.

That’s not really what happened, though. The quote is from an upcoming Meet the Press interview, and rather than “instructing” Republocans to vote their conscience, Ryan was asked if they should do that, and he responded that they shouldn’t not:

TODD: Do you think it is that members in the House Republican conference follow your conscience? If you don’t want to support him, don’t. do it —

RYAN: Oh, absolutely. The last thing I would do is tell anybody to do something that’s contrary to their conscience. Of course I wouldn’t do that. Look, believe me, Chuck. I get that this a very strange situation. [Trump is] a very unique nominee. But I feel as a responsibility institutionally as the speaker of the House that I should not be leading some chasm in the middle of our party. Because you know what I know that’ll do? That’ll definitely knock us out of the White House.

Sexing up headlines is nothing new, but in this case, it is resulting in a misleading narrative that Ryan’s support for Trump is slipping, and that he’s tacitly encouraging Republicans to abandon Trump, when he’s actually doing the opposite.

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