Ryan may have to watch his back after distancing from Trump

In answer to a reporter's question, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. said Donald Trump's comments about an American-born judge of Mexican heritage are the "textbook definition of a racist comment," during a news conference about his agenda to relieve poverty in America, Tuesday, June 7, 2016, in Washington. But Ryan, who endorsed Trump only last week after a lengthy delay, went on to say: "But do I believe Hillary Clinton is the answer? No, I do not." (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) – The escalating clash between Paul Ryan and Donald Trump is prompting warnings of retaliation against the speaker from rank-and-file House Republicans.

That means the Wisconsin Republican could face a rebellion like the one that drove former Speaker John Boehner into retirement, testing Ryan’s hold on his own job.

Ryan told GOP lawmakers this week that he won’t defend his party’s presidential candidate or campaign with him and urged them to do whatever it takes to win re-election.

His statement followed the release of a 2005 video showing Trump making vulgar comments about how he sexually pursued women.

Republican congressman Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma tweeted Wednesday, “Given the stakes of this election, if Paul Ryan isn’t for Trump, then I’m not for Paul Ryan.”

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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