Well, the much ballyhooed meeting between Trump and Ryan has occurred. I have said all along that this is barely disguised performance art from both parties. Although Ryan’s stance was, to my knowledge, unprecedented, it was also unsustainable given his position in the party. Eventually, Ryan is going to come around and support Trump – it has always been so. And indeed both emerged from their meeting saying all the right things about making steps toward unification.
What Ryan is doing is signaling to other House members that if they need to run against Trump or distance themselves from Trump, he will still have their back. And he wants to slow or halt Trump’s ongoing public pivot to the left, if he can. He wants to be able to extract public concessions from Trump about sticking with some of the conservative-ish things he said in the primary before all of them are abandoned in the general.
Trump, meanwhile, will say whatever he needs to say to get Ryan on board. As much as he blusters to the contrary, he does not want to run against the Speaker of the House and he wants Ryan to be RNC Convention Chair, because he can’t afford to have the convention consist entirely of his toadies. He needs to show at the convention that he’s reached reconciliation with at least some portion of his detractors – and since all the previous nominees have flatly declared that they won’t be present, Ryan presents the last major “get” that he can possibly have.
In the end, I would be stunned if the two weren’t reconciled. The only interesting question is what Trump and Ryan will have to publicly concede to make it happen.