REUTERS - U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump ratcheted up tensions in his Republican Party on Tuesday, denying leading figures support in their re-election bids.
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Trump on declined on Tuesday to endorse two fellow Republicans, U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan and U.S. Senator John McCain, in their upcoming re-election battles after both Republicans criticized his remarks about the family of a slain Muslim U.S. Army captain.
Interviewed by The Washington Post, Trump said he could endorse neither House Speaker Paul Ryan nor Senator John McCain, both of whom face Republican challengers in primary votes in their states ahead of the November 8 general election.
Mirroring the language Ryan used about supporting Trump before his eventual endorsement, Trump told the newspaper he was "not quite there yet" in endorsing Ryan, the highest ranking elected Republican, in next Tuesday's Wisconsin primary.
Trump praised Ryan's opponent, Paul Nehlen, for running "a very good campaign." Trump said Ryan had sought his endorsement, but that as of now he is only "giving it very serious consideration."
Ryan's spokesman issued a statement in response denying that the House speaker has asked for Trump's endorsement.