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Paul Ryan Says He Still Supports Trump Despite Assassination ‘Joke Gone Bad’

Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has just won his congressional primary, but as they say in poker, he’s all out of outs. After reluctantly endorsing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, then standing by that endorsement even after saying that Trump engages in “textbook racism,” Ryan recently said that his endorsement is not a “blank check,” and that there is some theoretical line that Trump could cross that would cause Ryan to rescind his endorsement.

On Tuesday night, Ryan seemed to erase that line. Minutes after telling reporters that it was his belief that Donald Trump had joked about the assassination of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, he told NBC News’ Kelly O’Donnell that even this did not cancel that non-blank check:

O’Donnell: Do you think, when you consider your blank check comment, that you would not give the nomination of Donald Trump a blank check, has he gone too far here when he’s talking about matters of security?

Ryan: I’m not going to make a comment more than I did. (O’Donnell offers to read comment) No, I don’t want to do it that way. I’ve been pretty busy today. The point I made before with any endorsement of anyone, they there are never blank checks.

Ryan takes pains to point out that he hasn’t seen the comments, but at the point O’Donnell asked him, it was his belief that Trump had made a “joke gone bad” about the assassination of Hillary Clinton, and this belief was not sufficient to get him to rescind his endorsement, or even to watch 15 seconds of video on Mediaite. He didn’t say, “Well, if he did joke about Hilary being killed, that’d sure do it,” he said he hopes Trump “clears up” the joke. It’s tough to imagine where else Ryan could be drawing that line.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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