Ryan ‘Not Ready’ to Support Trump
Like most major Republicans, House Speaker Paul Ryan is not ready to support Donald Trump.
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) May 5, 2016
“To be perfectly candid with you … I’m just not ready to do that at this point. I’m not there right now,” Ryan said on CNN’s “The Lead.”
“I hope to though and I want to. But what is required is to unify this party. And the bulk of the burden on unifying the party will have to come from our presumptive nominee. …”
“At this point I’m not ready to jump in, but I hope we can get there.”
The Hill reports:
The remarks from Ryan underscore the divide within the GOP over Trump’s impending nomination, and leave the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee without the endorsement of the party’s highest office holder.
Ryan said it would be up to Trump to unify the party and that he was determined to defeat Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee.
But he repeatedly said that he was not ready to back Trump, who Ryan has previously criticized.
“This is the party of Lincoln, of Reagan, of Jack Kemp. And we don’t always nominate a Lincoln or a Reagan every four years,” Ryan said. “But we hope that our nominee aspires to be Lincoln and Reaganesque, that that person advances the principles of our party and appeals to a wide, vast majority of Americans.”
A senior aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said his boss knew that when he announced Wednesday evening he would back Trump, Ryan had not yet revealed he would do the same. The aide said McConnell received a heads up Thursday from Ryan before his interview with CNN that he would withhold his endorsement, at least for the time being.
Other party heavyweights have failed to rally around Trump, as some Republicans insist they will never support the billionaire. Former Sen. Bob Dole (Kansas) as of now is the only former GOP presidential nominee planning to go to the Republican convention this summer.
The comments from Ryan immediately stoked speculation that the Speaker himself is interested in a future run for the White House.
Ryan, who will be the chairman of the GOP convention, last month gave a speech to say he had no interest in being drafted as a presidential candidate. Many Republicans in the House have touted him as a strong candidate who could emerge at a brokered convention.
The Speaker has criticized Trump’s call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States and also criticized violence that has broken out at Trump events.
During an election-night party in March, Trump issued a threat to Ryan after the Speaker chided the front-runner for failing to forcefully disavow white supremacist David Duke.
“I’m going to get along great with Congress, Okay? Paul Ryan, I don’t know him well, but I’m sure I’m going to get along great with him, and if I don’t, he’s gonna have to pay a big price,” Trump said at the time.
Asked Thursday if he was concerned about Trump’s threats, Ryan shook his head and said he wasn’t worried at all.
The two men are at odds on a host of policy issues, including trade.
On Wednesday, Trump also criticized any efforts by House Republicans to provide a debt relief plan for Puerto Rico, an issue Ryan has championed.
The #NeverTrump movement cheered Ryan’s remarks, calling him a “conservative leader who has repeatedly shown he is a man of deep integrity and conviction.”
“It is heartening to see him stay true to his principles and values and demand better,” said #NeverTrump senior adviser Rory Cooper. “We need more Republicans of strong character and conservative vision like Speaker Ryan, and we need more Republicans to speak out when leadership is necessary.”
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