Conservative talk show host Charlie Sykes on Monday said Republican lawmakers have to make the break from Donald Trump to save themselves, their majority, and their party.
A guest on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" morning program, Sykes said Speaker Paul Ryan's continued support for Trump despite distancing himself from events of the past two weeks is a case of "misguided political duty."
"Paul Ryan is doing what he's doing because as speaker he thinks he needs to hold the House of Representatives," Sykes said on Morning Joe. "If Paul Ryan were just a regular member of Congress, he wouldn't be doing this. I think he has a sense of political responsibility. I think that's misguided in this particular sense."
However, Sykes believes that Ryan's convincing re-election last week in his home state of Wisconsin might "liberate" the speaker.
"That might be a green light for Paul Ryan to distance himself even more, particularly as these polls go into free fall," Sykes said on the show.
But completely removing themselves from Trump's shadow is not an easy maneuver, Sykes said, something he warned of months ago.
"When you endorsed Donald Trump, you bought into all of this," he said. "You made yourself hostage to every single tweet, every single outrage, every single insult and now they're tied up to it. How do they get the stink off of themselves, and I don't know."
Especially now that the "recrimination primaries," as Sykes calls it, have begun; the finger-pointing of who gets blamed when Trump loses in disastrous fashion.
"Ryan and Reince Priebus — they will be the ones accused by media enablers … of undermining and betraying the party," Sykes said.
To which Joe Scarborough said: "Scared leaders in this middle ground are going to get shot at from both sides."
"And that's why you have to do the right thing," Sykes replied. "Ultimately you have to make the moral right thing for your integrity because you're going to get hit either way."
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