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Wisconsin GOP Leadership Skip Trump Event

Ryan, Walker, Johnson Cite Previous Commitments

John Locher/AP Photo

The state’s highest-ranking Republicans are skipping Donald Trump’s Monday evening rally in Green Bay.

The offices of Gov. Scott Walker, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan all cited prior commitments that will keep them from the GOP nominee’s first appearance in Wisconsin since The Washington Post published a video of him bragging about sexually assaulting women.

“Speaker Ryan will be in Texas supporting members of the House of Representatives who are seeking re-election,” spokesman Zack Roday wrote via email. “Ryan is spending the next month focused on defeating Democrats.”

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Roday said the Texas event “has been scheduled for months.”

Ryan was the subject of a string of harsh tweets from the GOP candidate over the weekend.

Ryan announced last week he would no longer defend or campaign with Trump, though he did not revoke his endorsement of him.

Walker’s campaign office said the governor will be in New Jersey on Monday evening, giving the keynote address at an event for GOPAC, a conservative political action committee.

Campaign spokesman Joe Fadness said the event has been on the governor’s schedule “for several weeks.”

Johnson’s campaign also cited a previous commitment.

Both Walker and Johnson have denounced Trump’s comments about women, but both continue to endorse him.

Johnson did not mention Trump by name during his debate last Friday with Democratic challenger Russ Feingold, but said he supports “areas of agreement” with the GOP nominee, including the economy, national security, immigration and the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the absence of Ryan, Walker and Johnson, Trump will be introduced by U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke and state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.

Clarke made headlines over the weekend with a tweet decrying Democratic leadership in Washington.

“Pitchforks and torches time,” Clarke tweeted.

Clarke has since written in defense of the tweet, saying he was not inciting violence.

Last week, Fitzgerald said there’s “still a lot of support” for Trump in Wisconsin, and that the GOP nominee will not hurt Republicans running on down-ballot races in the state.

The Green Bay event is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.