Trump repaid Ryan’s loyalty on Monday by tweeting a positive message to his Republican challenger, Paul Nehlen, ahead of the Aug. 9 primary.
Nehlen has gone after Ryan using a playbook similar to Trump’s: relentlessly focusing on unauthorized immigration and trade, accusing Ryan of favoring open borders and letting American jobs go overseas.
He has also been a Trump booster and defender, including over the candidate and his allies’ attacks on the mother and father of Army Capt. Humayun S.M. Khan, a fallen soldier who was Muslim. Trump went after his parents, Khizr and Ghazala Khan, after they appeared at the Democratic National Convention last week to say he had “sacrificed nothing,” and that their son wouldn’t even have been in the U.S. if Trump had had his way and kept Muslims from immigrating here.
Ryan issued a statement Sunday reiterating his opposition to a religious test for entering the U.S. and saying the Khans should be honored for their sacrifice.
Nehlen posted multiple blog posts and tweets defending Trump. He wrote that Ryan was misrepresenting Trump’s immigration policy, which started as a call to “temporarily” ban Muslims from entering the U.S. before an “expansion,” in Trump’s words, to block people from countries “compromised by terrorism.” Nehlen also defended the idea of a religious test.
Nehlen criticized the Khan family personally as well:
Ryan campaign spokesman Zack Roday declined to address Nehlen or Trump directly, saying, “Rather than engage in a back-and-forth, the Speaker is going to remain focused entirely on ensuring we deliver strong Republican majorities this fall.”
Editor’s note: Donald Trump