Trump, Ryan Signal Unity
Donald Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan made up on Thursday and release an official statement suggesting that they will work together in the general election.
“We will be having additional discussions, but remain confident there’s a great opportunity to unify our party and win this fall, and we are totally committed to working together to achieve that goal,” the joint statement said.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2016
The Hill reports:
It fell short of an endorsement of Trump by Ryan, but the Speaker in a press conference after the meeting said he was “very encouraged” by what he had heard from Trump, who described as a warm and generous person.
Ryan said it would be the first of a number of meetings, and that the two would get further into the “pollicy weeds” in the future.
Trump expressed enthusiasm about his trip to Capitol Hill, tweeting, “things are working out really well!”
The Speaker shocked many Republicans a week ago by saying he was not yet ready to get in line behind the man expected to clinch the GOP nomination in the coming weeks.
Ryan had signaled ahead of the meeting that an endorsement at this time was unlikely, saying in one interview that it would take more than one week to unify the party.
He repeated those points at his post-meeting press conference, stating that the GOP has just finished perhaps its most divisive primary in history but that he left the meeting “very encouraged with what I heard from Donald Trump.”
He also noted that Trump had won more votes than any other GOP nominee, even though there are still remaining state contests in this year’s primary.
“We are now planting the seeds to get ourselves unified to bridge the gaps and differences,” he said.
“From here, we are going to go deeper into the policy areas to see where that common ground is and how we can make sure that we operating off these same core principles.”
The joint statement from Trump and Ryan highlighted one of those common values and echoed talking points sent earlier in the day to Trump surrogates emphasizing the need to defeat likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
“The United States cannot afford another four years of the Obama White House, which is what Hillary Clinton represents,” it said. “That is why it’s critical that Republicans unite around our shared principles, advance a conservative agenda, and do all we can to win this fall.
“With that focus, we had a great conversation this morning. While we were honest about our few differences, we recognize that there are also many important areas of common ground.”
Trump held one meeting on Thursday with Ryan and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, and a second with the House GOP leadership team. He then headed over to the Senate to speak with Senate GOP leaders.
After that second meeting, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), who like Ryan has not endorsed Trump, called the visit by Trump a “very important first step forward to unify as Republicans and build an inclusive coalition of voters to defeat Hillary Clinton.”
Priebus has long scrambled to portray a unified front around the eventual nominee, but that image took a blow as a handful of big-name Republicans — including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) — declined to endorse him.
But chairman downplayed Ryan’s reluctance to endorse in an interview with MSNBC soon after the meeting ended.
“I think everyone was a bit caught off guard by how quick it all ended,” Priebus told MSNBC on Thursday about Trump wrapping up the nomination.
“People thought that Sen. Cruz would at least go to California, that didn’t happen, I think it threw a few people off.”
Photo credit: The Fiscal Times.