President Donald Trump furiously unloaded on then-House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) for criticizing his equivocating defense of white supremacists after a violent rally in Charlottesville left a woman dead.
The president insisted the neo-Nazi demonstrators included "some very fine people," and Ryan said afterward that Trump had "messed up" by offering "moral ambiguity" instead of clarity -- which reportedly enraged him, according to The Atlantic.
The magazine published an excerpt of former White House aide Cliff Sims' new tell-all book, Team of Vipers, that describes the episode.
Trump watched Ryan's remarks on CNN and yelled for his secretary to get the Wisconsin Republican on the phone, and the president stood clutching the TV remote "like a pistol" before grabbing the phone.
“Paul, do you know why Democrats have been kicking your *ss for decades?” Trump shouted, according to Sims. “Because they know a little word called ‘loyalty.’ Why do you think Nancy [Pelosi] has held on this long? Have you seen her? She’s a disaster. Every time she opens her mouth another Republican gets elected. But they stick with her."
"Why can’t you be loyal to your president, Paul?” he continued, his voice growing louder.
“You know what else I remember?" Trump shouted. "I remember being in Wisconsin and your own people were booing you. You were out there dying like a dog, Paul. Like a dog! And what’d I do? I saved your *ss.”