Sarah Palin told CNN's Jake Tapper today that she believed House Speaker Paul Ryan's refusal to endorse Donald Trump once he became the presumptive Republican nominee would lead to him being "Cantored, as in Eric Cantor." She suggested Ryan's political career was over "because he has so disrespected the will of the people."
Earlier this week, Ryan told Tapper he wasn't yet ready to endorse Trump for president, although he's said he would support the Republican nominee whoever it would be. "There's some work to be done here," Ryan said.
Palin offered her own theory as to why Ryan, who has been critical of Trump a number of times, although not by name. "I think why Paul Ryan is doing this is because it screws his chances for the 2020 presidential bid that he's gunning for," Palin offered. "If the GOP was to win now, that wouldn't bode well for his chances in 2020 so that's what he's shooting for." Palin said she'd be open to being Trump's vice presidential nominee but knows she would likely harm more than help him.
A Trump spokesperson said this week that Ryan, who is also going to be chair of the Republican National Convention, shouldn't be House speaker if he was unable to endorse Trump for president. In the CNN interview, Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee and former governor of Alaska, was asked if she'd support Paul Nehlan, who is challenging Ryan in the August primary. "That's a good question, seeing as I haven't even got to call him to tell him I'm supporting him," Palin responded, "but yes, I'll do whatever I can for Paul Nehlan."
Palin said the problem with Paul Ryan and "his ilk" was that "they have become so disconnected from the people whom they are elected to represent, as evidenced by Paul Ryan's refusal to support the GOP frontrunner who we just said is our man."
In an interview on ABC's This Week, Trump said he didn't understand why Ryan didn't endorse him. "Even Governor Perry came out" and endorsed Trump wit ha "very beautiful statement," Trump noted. Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas, had called Trump a "cancer" on conservatism when he was briefly a presidential candidate last summer.
Trump said he'd meet Ryan on Thursday, saying everything was fine when he and Ryan talked three weeks ago, "then all of a sudden, he wants to be cute." Trump called Ryan's refusal to endorse "just drama," insisting "we've got to be cheerleaders for the Republican party."
Later in the same interview, while explaining his plan to renegotiate the federal debt, Trump criticized last December's $1.8 trillion omnibus, Ryan's first spending bill as speaker, without mentioning Ryan's role in it.
A tweet from Trump on Friday may reveal most accurately Trump's thought process on Ryan's refusal to rubber stamp him as the Republican nominee. "Paul Ryan said that I inherited something very special, the Republican Party," Trump tweeted. "Wrong, I didn't inherit it, I won it with millions of voters!"