There will still be a significant chunk of the party who will view Trump's critics as disloyal, Bartlett warned, which may put some establishment politicians on the spot to explain why they did not do more to support the nominee.
"There is a whole deal going on and we're going to figure it out".
House Speaker Paul Ryan's abandonment of Donald Trump is aimed at protecting Republican control of the House.
Hillary Clinton has pressed Republicans to take a clear stand on Donald Trump as she tries to capitalise on party divisions since revelation of his predatory comments about women prompted party leaders to abandon him. Trump repeatedly blasted Ryan Tuesday, lamenting his leadership and blaming him for eroding party unity.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said Ryan was under pressure from Republicans in deeply conservative districts where Trump is running strongly and from those from more moderate areas where the presidential candidate has struggled. "I always figure things out". He also bashed other Republicans for "disloyalty", causing some to worry that Ryan had made a grave miscalculation in his decision to back away from Trump. Scott Garrett of New Jersey, Bradley Byrne of Alabama and Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska.
Moments later Summer Zervos, a contestant on Trump's former reality show, The Apprentice, issued a personal statement about being sexually harassed by the businessman in 2007 after the season concluded.
Fortenberry tried to walk his own hard tightrope in explaining his stance on Trump.
The latest Marquette University Law School poll released this week showed Democrat Hillary Clinton ahead of Trump by 7 points in Wisconsin in the presidential races. "I know some people are still making their choice", he said.
"He decided he was not stepping aside". Ryan this week told colleagues he would no longer publicly defend Trump, in essence washing his hands of him. "But yeah, I respectfully disagree with his focus in this campaign". Ryan did not withdraw his endorsement of Trump, but said he will spend the remaining weeks before Election Day working exclusively to protect his party's control of the House.
But Trump himself sounded downright combative, tweeting it was "so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to". It comes down to the 8 percent to 10 percent of the country that is independent and undecided and, from what people are telling me, I think when it comes time to vote they will be voting for Donald Trump. "I don't care about his support".
Media scrutiny Some Republicans have been left bungling in response to hard media questions about Mr Trump's comments. But U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., seeking re-election, has refused to back Trump. Having failed to do so, how can he - the leader of the party - claim the moral high ground in the GOP after a likely major defeat in November and the ensuing existential crisis?
These changes in tone came after Trump fired off a series of retaliatory tweets on Tuesday, including one that said, "Disloyal R's are far more hard than Crooked Hillary".
Rep. Bill Huizenga of MI echoed that, saying, "The reality is Donald Trump is our nominee, and Hillary Clinton is not an option".