Rep. Paul Ryan defeated Democratic, Libertarian and Independent challengers in his reelection bid for Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district late Tuesday night. Despite his and President-elect Donald Trump‘s mutual victories, however, the good news didn’t necessarily bode well for Ryan’s future as the Speaker of the House. Or at least that’s what Fox News anchor Sean Hannity, one of Trump’s more outspoken proponents, suggested during a telephone interview with his channel’s live election night team.
According to Politico, Hannity spent plenty of time blaming Democrats for the country’s apparent disgusts with politics as usual, but that didn’t stop him from shifting his focus to Speaker Ryan:
“They see Washington is broken. And Republicans are just as guilty. Paul Ryan is not going to be the speaker of the House in January,” Hannity said during a phone interview on Fox late Tuesday. “I was going to save that for my program tomorrow. He’s not going to be the speaker. I mean, an amazing turn of events because the establishment on both sides lost touch with the real lives of real Americans, and Donald Trump opened the door, said we’re going to fix it and turn the table over.”
Whether Hannity meant to suggest Trump would purposely target Ryan’s status as speaker after the election remains to be seen. (Though considering the victor’s previous statements regarding suing his detractors, it’s not that much of a stretch.) And when the quote started gaining traction online, Hannity quickly walked it back on Twitter.
“Assuming Trump wins, it’s up to him and congress if Paul Ryan should be speaker,” he wrote. “I am disappointed the speaker didn’t show enough support.”
Other notable conservative voices, like former Ted Cruz communications director turned CNN contributor Amanda Carpenter, latched onto Hannity’s comments. Carpenter specifically responded in a since-deleted tweet, asking if the Fox News host wanted “Trump’s first act to be WAR.” She then added: “When does the unity start? I’ll put down the sword if you guys will.”