Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) answers questions during his weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol April 28, 2016 in Washington, DC. 
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty

Paul Ryan and the candidate who must not be named

Given the blowback from the right, some might be under the impression that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) withdrew his endorsement of Donald Trump's candidacy. One congressional Republican, Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), said a couple of weeks ago, "Given the stakes of this election, if Paul Ryan isn't for Trump, then I'm not for Paul Ryan."

The trouble is, Ryan is for Trump -- he never withdrew his support for the presidential hopeful. To be sure, the Speaker criticized Trump, distanced himself from Trump, and announced that he'd no longer defend Trump publicly, but Paul Ryan also endorsed Trump months ago -- and refused pressure to rescind it.

In fact, as of this morning, Ryan isn't just a Trump supporter, he's also a Trump voter. He admitted as much on Fox News this morning:

STEVE DOOCY: Where do you stand on voting for Donald Trump and endorsing Donald Trump, and how should that impact all Republicans and independents and Democrats watching right now?

PAUL RYAN: I stand where I've stood all fall and all summer. I -- in fact, I already voted here in Janesville for our nominee last week in early voting.

This doesn't come as a surprise, of course. Ryan has simply done what he'd already vowed to do.

But did you notice that the House Speaker can't quite bring himself to say Donald Trump's name? Ryan is willing to say he's voted for his party's "nominee," but the presidential candidate himself is The One Who Must Not Be Named.

Ryan's not alone. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) voted yesterday in Miami, and was asked about his presidential vote. The Miami Herald reported, "'Nothing's changed on that,' said Rubio, who backs Trump but didn't mention his name."

I obviously can't say with confidence who'll win the presidential election next week, and there's a real possibility that Trump may prevail. And if he does, that will be unprecedented in all sorts of ways -- Trump's inexperience, lack of qualifications, ignorance about government and public policy, make him a rather ridiculous figure -- but the Republican would also be the first successful candidate in recent memory whose name is so toxic, leading members of his own party are reluctant to repeat it out loud and in public.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), meanwhile, also followed through on his principles. The Republican governor took advantage of early voting and cast a write-in vote for John McCain for president.

Note, the Ohioan has faced threats from the RNC for failing to support Trump, but it appears Kasich stuck to his guns.