Donald Trump: ‘The shackles have been taken off me’

Posted at 11:33 AM, Oct 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-11 11:33:50-04

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday that the “shackles” had been removed from him, freeing the Republican nominee to campaign the way he chooses, following several days where his words and actions have thrown the GOP into chaos.

“It is so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to,” he said.

Trump also called House Speaker Paul Ryan “very weak” and “ineffective” Tuesday, after the Wisconsin Republican announced he’d no longer defend or campaign for the GOP presidential nominee.

“Our very weak and ineffective leader, Paul Ryan, had a bad conference call where his members went wild at his disloyalty,” Trump tweeted.

“Despite winning the second debate in a landslide (every poll), it is hard to do well when Paul Ryan and others give zero support,” he also tweeted.

Ryan dealt his own party’s presidential nominee a huge blow Monday, telling fellow House Republicans he will no longer defend his party’s presidential nominee. He will instead use the final month of the 2016 election to focus on preserving the Republicans’ hold on Congress.

“Paul Ryan is focusing the next month on defeating Democrats, and all Republicans running for office should probably do the same,” Ryan spokesperson Brendan Buck said Tuesday, a statement echoing his response on Monday.

“The speaker is going to spend the next month focused entirely on protecting our congressional majorities,” Ryan’s spokeswoman, AshLee Strong, said in a statement Monday.

The feud follows an outpouring of high-profile Republicans slamming the real estate mogul, after the release Friday of a 2005 recording featuring Trump making lewd and sexually aggressive comments about women.

Republican elected officials and party elders lined up Saturday to denounce Trump’s incendiary remarks. Some sitting members of Congress pulled their support entirely, while others blasted the remarks but continued supporting the GOP standard-bearer. Some said they wanted Trump to step aside so that his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, can lead the ticket. Pence said in a CNN interview Monday that he’s sticking with Trump.