In a tweet Monday evening, Donald Trump thanked House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) primary challenger for his support regarding Trump’s ongoing attacks on the Khan family.
“Very much appreciated,” Trump wrote.
Thanks to @pnehlen for your kind words, very much appreciated.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2016
Trump spent the weekend attacking Khizr Khan and his wife after he spoke at the Democratic National Convention last week, and has faced bipartisan backlash for his ongoing remarks.
Ryan issued a statement Monday distancing himself from Trump’s comments, saying that Captain Humayun Khan’s “sacrifice—and that of Khizr and Ghazala Khan—should always be honored. Period.” He also rejected Trump’s proposed Muslim immigration ban, saying that any “religious test” would be “not reflective of these fundamental values.”
Paul Nehlen’s campaign issued a statement the same day criticizing Ryan’s “constant knee-jerk reactions to anything controversial Donald Trump might say” and supporting Trump’s position.
Nehlen, a Tea Party businessman who is challenging Ryan for his seat in the House, has previously criticized Ryan for his support of trade deals while citing his own reputation as a businessman, much like Trump. Unlike Trump, he has also challenged the House speaker to an arm-wrestling match.