MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Two of Gov. Scott Walker's major supporters are serving on a committee created to support Donald Trump.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus announced the creation of the Trump Victory Committee on Tuesday. One of the vice-chairs is Beloit billionaire Diane Hendricks. Campaign finance reports show Hendricks gave $5 million last year to Unintimidated PAC, a super PAC formed to support Walker's ill-fated presidential bid.
I like how they start it off, "Two of Gov. Scott Walker's major supporters ..."
Forget Walker for now, he's not on the ballot this November. It should have been, "Two of Rep. Paul Ryan's major supporters ..." Now that's far more relevant for this election cycle.
Although Trump won Janesville (Ryan's hometown) and Rock County in the presidential primary, Cruz defeated Trump decisively and carried the congressional district on the backs of GOP "Never Trump" voters - 51% to 32%.
But by avoiding an endorsement decision on Trump, Ryan is playing off of Paul Nehlen, his tough primary challenger's endorsement of Donald Trump, thereby hoping the state GOP and right-wing radio talkers can maintain the district's Trump/Cruz split to his advantage through the primary in August.
This is also why I believe Ryan's rhetoric at the recent Wisconsin State GOP convention asking for "real party unity, not pretend party unity" was NOT about Donald Trump, Trump's campaign or nomination. It was Ryan talking in code about his campaign and his own primary and re-election in the 1st CD.
Coming from the GOP's top office holder in the country, it became an order for the establishment, "I must win. Stay true to the party - not the party's nominee - and give me a primary victory." Ryan is saying, "don't pretend party unity now by linking a Trump/Nehlen ticket. After we defeat Nehlen, stay true to the party again - and then give Trump a victory in November."
So it does seem odd right now to most political watchers how the RNC and one of Paul Ryan's top financiers, Diane Hendricks, can support Trump AND be in the tank for a candidate seemingly hostile to their top national candidate at the same time.
There's no second-guessing between them. Forget the Trump national scene for the moment. Forget anyone suggesting they're abandoning their "conservative" principles with Trump. There's no betrayal. They know what they're doing. It becomes clear when you realize they're doing it to maintain a winning contrast for Republican primary voters in the 1st CD to save Paul Ryan's career.
Ryan also recently said Trump could win, but he wouldn't bet on it. He has to say that to maintain consistency with his phony party "unity" game plan when in fact supporting Trump is party unity. But locally, that would also mean supporting Nehlen. Ryan isn't quite there yet ...ahem.
After the primary and assuming he wins, my guess is Ryan will be "all in" for Donald Trump. Any suggestion Ryan opposed Trump would be his latest urban legend.
Ryan himself could end this by suddenly endorsing Trump, but that would hand Nehlen a clear but small victory on party unity and decisiveness.
Trump however could be the key or the spoiler here IF he makes an endorsement in the Wisconsin primary.
On that, I suggest the media press the outspoken Trump on his choice for the 1st Congressional District of Wisconsin as soon as possible. Now is not the time to suddenly be politically correct or wishy-washy.