Donald Trump has stated he is free of the "shackles" of the Republican Party after "disloyal" members of the GOP denounced him in the wake of a misogyny scandal.
Footage of Trump, which appeared to show him making comments about sexually assaulting women, which the candidate since described as "locker room banter", led to high-profile desertions from his supporters, including senator John McCain.
The GOP nominee wrote several tweets dismissing those who had withdrawn their support, following comments from House Speaker Paul Ryan that he would not defend Trump anymore.
"The speaker is going to spend the next month focused entirely on protecting our congressional majorities," Ryan's spokeswoman AshLee Strong said in a statement, reported by CNN.
But the controversial declaration by Ryan and the resulting defection from a number of stalwarts who were loyal to Trump's camp have made it easier for the candidate to run his campaign his own way, he claimed.
Trump said: "It is so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to.
"With the exception of cheating Bernie out of the nom, the Dems have always proven to be far more loyal to each other than the Republicans!
"Disloyal R's are far more difficult than Crooked Hillary. They come at you from all sides. They don't know how to win — I will teach them!"
He also took aim at Ryan, stating: "Despite winning the second debate in a landslide (every poll), it is hard to do well when Paul Ryan and others give zero support!
"Our very weak and ineffective leader, Paul Ryan, had a bad conference call where his members went wild at his disloyalty."
Ryan's comments have come at a bad time for the nominee, with polls taken after the recent scandal hit showing Clinton polling at up to 14 points ahead of Trump, although it is yet to be seen whether the debate itself will have made a further difference in numbers.