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Palin says she'll work to oust Paul Ryan over reluctance to back Trump

The Trump supporter and former Alaska governor said the House speaker's hesitancy to endorse the presumptive GOP nominee was motivated by political ambition.
Sarah Palin attends a rally for Donald Trump in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Feb. 1, 2016. (Photo by Mark Peterson for MSNBC)
Sarah Palin attends a rally for Donald Trump in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Feb. 1, 2016.

Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin said in an interview that aired Sunday that House Speaker Paul Ryan could be ousted for his hesitancy to back Donald Trump, and suggested that Ryan's reluctance was fueled by aspirations to run for president in 2020.

When asked for her thoughts about Ryan's stance on Trump, Palin invoked former Rep. Eric Cantor. The ex-Republican House majority leader, who was viewed as the likely successor to former House Speaker John Boehner, was defeated by a Tea Party challenger in a stunning upset in the 2014 Virginia primary. Ryan ultimately assumed the position after Boehner retired. 

"I think Paul Ryan is soon to be 'Cantored,' as in Eric Cantor," Palin said on CNN. "His political career is over but for a miracle because he has so disrespected the will of the people, and 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 was not a wise decision of his." 

Palin then contended that a Republican victory in 2016 would hurt Ryan's chances to seek the White House next election cycle.

"It kind of screws his chances for the 2020 presidential bid that he's gunning for," Palin said. "If the GOP were to win now, that wouldn't bode well for his chances in 2020, and that's what he's shooting for. So a lot of people with their Never Trump or Not Right Now Trump mantra going on, they have their different reasons. I think that one is Paul Ryan's reason." 

The former Alaska governor was then asked if she planned on supporting Paul Nehlen, Ryan's opponent for his congressional seat, in Wisconsin's August primary. Nehlen has already pledged his support for Trump.

"Yes, I will do whatever I can for Paul Nehlen," Palin 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 from the people whom they are elected to represent ... they 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 someone like Paul Nehlen that they're not thinking straight right now."