Donald Trump’s campaign isn’t backing down from a rhetorical battle with House Speaker Paul Ryan.
In a lengthy interview with Business Insider on Friday, Trump campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson criticised Ryan over his decision to refrain from supporting his party’s presumptive presidential nominee.
“We’ve heard people like Paul Ryan and others say, ‘Donald Trump doesn’t represent my party.’ Well then, you shouldn’t be in the leadership, because all of the voters have selected Donald Trump,” Pierson said.
The spokeswoman repeatedly questioned Ryan’s record as speaker. She criticised him for, among other things, allegedly violating fiscally conservative principles during negotiations over last year’s complex bipartisan spending package. The bill included increased federal government spending, but also led to some sought-after tax breaks.
“We haven’t had conservative governance in the Republican Party since Ronald Reagan,” Pierson said.
Since then, Republicans have raised taxes, they have grown government. This is the Paul Ryan Republican Party that [Trump’s] talking about. Paul Ryan just patted himself on the back for passing a $1-trillion spending package. And they want to lecture the voters about being fiscally responsible and conservative? But the voters have realised at this point, at this time, with the issues that we’re facing, we need to get past the rhetoric of conservatism, and elect someone who has actually signed the front of paychecks.
Watch Pierson’s comments on Ryan below:
Pierson said Trump is still interested in receiving Ryan’s endorsement, saying he would welcome almost any Republican’s support. But she highlighted their divergent positions on free-trade issues such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multi-national trade agreement supported by the Obama administration.
“Mr. Trump would welcome every Republican’s endorsement,” Pierson said. “He’s not going to capitulate on things like amnesty, on things like trade. It was Speaker Ryan who was pushing for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal that would have hurt more jobs.”
Though he has remained unaligned during the presidential campaign, Ryan has been critical of some of Trump’s proposals. Last year, Ryan decried Trump’s proposal to bar Muslims from entering the US.
During a CNN interview Thursday, Ryan called on Trump to “set aside bullying, set aside belittlement” and begin crafting a message and campaign platform that would unify the GOP.
“I think what is necessary to make this work, for this to unify, is to actually take up principles and advance them. And that’s what we want to see,” Ryan said.
Still, the Trump campaign is banking on opposition to Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton to unite the Republican Party. To that end, Ryan and Trump are set to meet next week.
“There are things that Speaker Ryan and Donald Trump are not going to agree on. But if we are talking about what’s best for the party, the one thing they should agree on, and the one thing that matters, and the one reason why Republicans need to unify, is to stop a Clinton presidency,” Pierson said.
Ryan’s office did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment on Pierson’s comments.
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