GOP activists feel betrayed by Trump's Ryan endorsement

When Donald Trump did what he had to do and endorsed Speaker Paul Ryan for re-election, he cut the legs out from underneath conservative activists who were working to defeat him.

Heavy hitters like Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, and Rush Limbaugh had all expressed the hope that Ryan would lose to his primary opponent Paul Nehlen. But party activists working against Ryan, expressed disappointment and anger at Trump for what one referred to as a sell out.

Washington Times:

The trio of endorsements — especially the one for Mr. Ryan — shocked some of Mr. Trump’s diehard supporters.

“He has broken our heart doing this tonight,” said Trump supporter Sue Payne, a conservative activist working to defeat Mr. Ryan.

“We finally thought we had a voice to stand up against the RINO establishment. He sold us out,” she said. “What happened tonight is the establishment got their claws in him and they are pulling the strings. What do we believe now?”

Mr. Nehlen said he understood Mr. Trump’s decision to back the party leadership.

“Given his stature as our party’s official nominee, Mr. Trump’s decision to support the Republican Speaker is appropriate and is a display of true leadership,” Mr. Nehlen said in a statement.

Mr. Trump’s early refusal to endorse Ryan sent a clear signal to Wisconsin voters that Ryan is not his preferred candidate in this race. Speaker Ryan’s globalist agenda stands in clear opposition to the will of the Republican electorate, who want safe communities, immigration control, smart trade deals, and leaders who put the needs of the American people first,” he said.

Mr. Nehlen faced an uphill in taking on the powerful House speaker.

Mr. Ryan leads Mr. Nehlen in the Janesville district 80 percent to 14 percent, according to a Remington Research Group poll released Friday.

Nehlen played the endorsement well, not alientating Trump voters while bowing to the inevitable. Trump may consider himself anti-establishment, but he needs them to win the presidency. He may also have seen that poll and realized backing a candidate that was going to lose badly wouldn't look good for his campaign. 

I don't know how far Trump can go in embracing the establishment while maintaining his support with the base. But the candidate apparently recognizes that if he is elected, he needs these people to get anything done. In endorsing Ryan, Ayotte, and McCain, Trump paid a small price for a big payoff if he wins in November.

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