Sarah Palin backs Paul Ryan's primary opponent as GOP civil war deepens
Sarah Palin (Today)

Sarah Palin on Sunday fired a shot in the civil war gripping the Republican party, promising to do “whatever I can” for the primary opponent of House speaker Paul Ryan, who is up for re-election in November.


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On Thursday Ryan, in 2012 Palin’s successor as the Republican vice-presidential nominee, said he could not yet support this year’s presumptive presidential pick, Donald Trump. As senior figures across the party express their unease and distaste regarding a Trump candidacy , the two men are due to meet this week.

Palin was interviewed on CNN’s State of the Union .

“I think Paul Ryan is soon to be ‘Cantored,’ as in Eric Cantor,” she said, alluding to the former Republican House leader who was knocked out of his seat in 2014 , by a more conservative candidate.

“His political career is over but for a miracle because he has so disrespected the will of the people,” she said. “And yeah, as the leader of the GOP, the convention, certainly he is to remain neutral. And for him to already come out and say who he will not support is not a wise decision of his.

“If the GOP were to win [the general election] now, that wouldn’t bode well for his chances in 2020, and that’s what he’s shooting for,” she said, adding that Ryan’s decision “kinda screws his chances for the 2020 bid”.

We worked so hard to get Paul Ryan in there and so many other quote-unquote conservatives, and look what they have done

Sarah Palin

Asked whether she would support the man challenging Ryan in a primary race in Wisconsin this fall, Palin said she would.

“I will do whatever I can for Paul Nehlen ,” she said. “This man is a hard-working guy, so in touch with the people.

“Paul Ryan and his ilk, their problem is they have become so disconnected by the people whom they are elected to represent.”

Republicans like Ryan feel, she said, “feel so threatened at this point that their power, their prestige, their purse will be adversely affected by the change that is coming with Trump and with someone like Paul Nehlen, that they’re not thinking straight right now.

“We worked so hard to get Paul Ryan in there and so many other quote-unquote conservatives, and look what they have done.”

Asked if she would be interested in running for vice-president again, this time with Trump, Palin said: “I think I’m pretty much as vetted as anybody in the country could be vetted, already.”

Related: Clinton-Trump election could 'scramble' traditional electoral map, experts say

The former Alaska governor retreated from an expression of interest, though. She said: “They already know who I am, what I stand for. They wouldn’t be in for any surprises. I wanna help and not hurt … I wouldn’t want to be a burden on the ticket, and I recognize that in many, many eyes I would be.

“I just want the guy to win. I want America to win.”

Asked about her former running-mate, Senator John McCain , who was caught on tape this week saying Trump had turned his own re-election in Arizona into “the race of [his] life” by denigrating Hispanic people, Palin said: “I sure wish that politicians wouldn’t worry about these racial divides that are for the most part made up.”

“John McCain and I have gone through a lot of battles, separately and together, and I really respect the man,” she added.

“He doesn’t have any more to worry about with Latinos than he would have explaining his record to the general populace in Arizona.”

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