This week, presumably as payback for a health-care bill it viewed as insufficiently conservative, Breitbart, a site Steve Bannon once proudly hailed as “the platform for the alt-right,” published a leaked audio recording of House Speaker Paul Ryan.
In the recording, a conference call between Ryan and fellow Republican congressmen from Oct. 10, 2016, the House speaker addresses the leaked video of then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump bragging about groping women. “His comments are not anywhere in keeping with our party’s principles and values,” Ryan said, adding, “I am not going to defend Donald Trump—not now, not in the future. As you probably heard, I disinvited him from my 1st Congressional District GOP event this weekend—a thing I do every year. And I’m not going to be campaigning with him over the next 30 days.”
On Tuesday night, Late Show host Stephen Colbert entered the fray. “Paul Ryan’s headache is just beginning because Breitbart has leaked audio of Ryan on a conference call last October, and he had some strong words about standing up to Trump,” said Colbert, before playing a recording of Ryan’s declaration: “I am not going to defend Donald Trump—not now, not in the future.”
“Adding, ‘By in the future, of course, I mean between now and the election. After that, I’m going to fold like a Trump casino,’” joked Colbert.
He wasn’t done. “Paul Ryan’s people are trying to downplay this, saying ‘obviously a lot has happened since then,’” said Colbert. “Yes, a lot has happened since then—even in the field of medicine. For instance, Paul Ryan underwent major surgery to have his sack removed. Oooooo, oooooo, is a low note he can no longer hit.”
Colbert then expounded his theory on why Breitbart, a “news” site which has been called “Trump’s personal Pravda,” would try to sabotage Paul Ryan. “So why would Breitbart, a far-right website, go after Ryan during this time?” asked Colbert. “They think the new healthcare plan isn’t conservative enough, because it ‘does not repeal Obamacare.’ Yeah, 24 million people losing health insurance doesn’t go far enough. They want healthcare as the founders’ intended: dying at 35 of Scrivener’s Dropsy.”