Michele Bachmann on Trump vs. Republican Party: 'This isn't a civil war'

Story highlights

  • Bachmann said House Republicans were "perplexed" by a conference call with Speaker Paul Ryan
  • Bachmann defended the Trump campaign's decision to invite Bill Clinton's accusers to the second presidential debate

Washington (CNN)Former Republican congresswoman and presidential candidate Michele Bachmann denied Tuesday that GOP in-fighting over Donald Trump had escalated into a full-blown civil war.

Bachmann, who serves on the Trump's campaign's executive advisory board, told CNN Republicans serving in the US House of Representatives were "perplexed" by a conference call led by House Speaker Paul Ryan on Monday, in which he announced he would no longer defend nor campaign for the GOP's presidential nominee.
    "I spoke with members yesterday that were on this conference call," Bachmann told CNN's Carol Costello on "Newsroom." "And the members said, to a person, people were in support of Donald Trump and they really were perplexed why Paul even had the conference call in the first place because Donald Trump delivered a masterful performance in the second debate."
    Bachmann added, "So I think that this isn't a civil war, as you wrote it. It's really the members in Congress who are saying 'we're not going to fall in line and abandon Donald Trump.'"
    Bachmann's comments follow days of turmoil within the Republican Party about how to respond to 2005 footage leaked Friday in which Trump can be overheard making lewd and sexually aggressive comments about women.
    The former representative of Minnesota's 6th congressional district also defended the Trump campaign's decision to invite three women who have accused Bill Clinton of inappropriate sexual behavior to Sunday's second presidential debate, saying it was important to remind young voters of the former president's past indiscretions.
    "Well, there's a reason why he did and it's because the case was brought up about him," Bachmann said, continuing: "In this circumstance, I think it was very much fair game because this was a planned surprise attack on Donald Trump going at his character."
    Bachmann acknowledged she would prefer that the Republican Party focused on policy rather than politics, but said Trump was prepared to fight fire with fire to defeat Hillary Clinton in November.
    "I think what all of us would like to see is more talk about Obamacare and the disasters that are happening in Syria right now, the tragedies over there, and also with our economy," Bachmann said. "But then it really will be up to Hillary Clinton's team to make sure that there aren't these sort of videos and things that are coming out because Donald Trump will respond in kind. Why shouldn't he?"