In a dustup between former GOP vice presidential candidates, Sarah Palin said Sunday she will work to unseat House Speaker Paul Ryan after Ryan refused last week to endorse Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
Trump, asked about Palin's remarks on Monday, called her a "free agent" and said he had nothing to do with that push.
Palin, who was on the 2008 Republican ticket, earlier said on “State of the Union” she “will do whatever I can” to support Ryan’s primary challenger in Wisconsin’s first district. Ryan’s snub of Trump was “not a wise decision of his,” Palin said.
“His political career is over, but for a miracle, because he has so disrespected the will of the people,” said Palin, who was governor of Alaska from 2006 to 2009.
She suggested that Ryan would be “Cantor-ed,” referencing ex-Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s June 2014 Virginia primary loss to an upstart challenger and his ousting from GOP leadership. Both Palin and Trump were speaking on CNN.
Ryan is facing businessman Paul Nehlen in the Aug. 9 Republican congressional primary. Palin said she has not yet spoken to Nehlen, but Nehlen had obviously heard the news Sunday morning, retweeting two links to the Palin interview from his personal account.
Ryan's spokesperson declined to comment on the Palin remarks when contact by FoxNews.com.
Ryan, who was a vice presidential candidate in 2012, was first elected to Congress in 1998 and was chosen as speaker of the house in 2015. Though he has been somewhat critical of several Trump statements in the past, Ryan still stunned many in the political world on Thursday when he declined to throw his weight behind his party’s likely November standard bearer.
“I’m just not ready to do that at this point,” Ryan said on CNN. “I’m not there right now.”
Palin told host Jake Tapper she believes Ryan’s own presidential ambitions are keeping him from supporting Trump.
“You know, I think why Paul Ryan is doing this, Jake, it kind of screws his chances for the 2020 presidential bid that he’s gunning for,” she said. “If the GOP were to win now, that wouldn’t bode well for his chances in 2020 and that’s what he’s shooting for. So a lot of people with their ‘Never Trump’ or ‘Now Right Now Trump’ mantra going on, they have different reasons. I think that one is Paul Ryan’s reason.”