Just now on Jake Tapper, Paul Ryan was asked if he could support Donald Trump now that he is the Republican nominee. Speaker Ryan did not say that he would never support Trump, but he made it clear that the burden to heal the rift between Trump and the Republican party is not on the party, it’s on Trump.
Rough transcript follows:
Tapper: So Mr. Speaker, you have said throughout this process that you will support the Republican presidential nominee – now you have a presumptive nominee, Donald Trump. Will you support him?
Ryan: Well, to be perfectly candid with you Jake, I’m just not ready to do that at this point. I’m not there right now, I hope to, though, and I want to. But I think that what is required is that we unify this party, and I think the bulk of the burden of unifying this party will have to come from the presumptive nominee. . . he also inherits something very special, that’s very special to a lot of us. This is the party of Lincoln, and Reagan, and Jack Kemp. And we don’t always nominate a Lincoln and a Reagan every four years, um, 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. And so, I think what is necessary to make this work, to unify, is to actually take our principles and advance them, and that’s what we wanna see. Saying we’re unified doesn’t in and of itself unify us. But actually taking the principles that we all believe in, showing that there’s a dedication to those, and running a principled campaign that Republicans can be proud about, and actually appeal to a majority of Americans, that to me is what is necessary to unify this party.
I have to admit that I’m kind of floored by this. I expect that in the end, Ryan will capitulate and endorse Trump just because he’s essentially the highest ranking Republican official in the country, and his position within the party more or less demands it. But the fact that he’s not willing to state that endorsement right up front, and openly declare that he can’t support Trump right now is huge in and of itself.