JANESVILLE, Wis., Aug. 9 (UPI) — House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday crushed a political newcomer who aligned himself with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in an unexpectedly high-profile primary.
Ryan trounced Paul Nehlen, a businessman, in Wisconsin’s first congressional district, which Ryan has represented in Congress for 16 years. Late Tuesday, polls showed Ryan beating Nehlen 84 percent to 16 percent.
The primary was not a national story until Trump, during an interview with The Washington Post, was asked whether he was endorsing Ryan in the race. Trump said he was not ready to endorse Ryan, but several days later at a rally in Green Bay, he did announce his endorsement.
Trump had also offered kind words for Nehlen, praising his support for building a wall on the Mexican border.
Asked whether Trump’s endorsement of Ryan would hurt his campaign, Nehlen renewed his criticism of Ryan, whom he said has been too deferential to Democrats.
“Donald Trump is a leader. He was uniting the party” by endorsing Ryan, Nehlen said. “We need Donald Trump to stop a third Barack Obama term, which by the way, Paul Ryan would rubber-stamp.”
Nehlen touted himself just as anti-trade, anti-immigration as Trump, but went farther last week and proposed deporting all Muslims from the United States.