Republican nominee Donald Trump refused to endorse Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) ahead of Ryan’s primary next Tuesday in Wisconsin.
“I like Paul, but these are horrible times for our country,” Trump told the Washington Post on Tuesday — one week before Ryan’s election. “We need very strong leadership. We need very, very strong leadership. And I’m just not quite there yet. I’m not quite there yet.”
Ryan had previously taken time to endorse Trump, telling CNN in May, “To be perfectly candid, I’m not ready to do that right now.” However, Ryan did later decide to back the billionaire.
Ryan and Trump don’t see eye-to-eye on many issues such as Trump’s proposed temporary Muslim ban, immigration, and trade. For example, Ryan pushed for the passing of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) last summer in order to fast-track the passage of trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP); however, Trump opposes the TPP and has often been critical of trade agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which he says does harm to American workers and manufacturing.
Trump said Ryan’s primary challenger Paul Nehlen has run “a very good campaign.”
Nehlen had defended Trump against backlash from the Khans, who spoke about their son who was killed in combat and criticized Trump during the Democratic National Convention. Trump thanked Nehlen on Twitter Monday night.
Ryan, on the other hand, didn’t defend Trump from the Khans’ criticism.
“Many Muslim Americans have served valiantly in our military, and made the ultimate sacrifice,” Ryan stated over the weekend. “Captain Khan was one such brave example. His sacrifice — and that of Khizr and Ghazala Khan — should always be honored. Period.”
Ryan’s office responded to the Washington Post’s interview with Trump, saying Ryan never sought Trump’s endorsement.
Ryan’s campaign spokesperson Zack Roday stated, “Neither Speaker Ryan nor anyone on his team has ever asked for Donald Trump’s endorsement. And we are confident in a victory next week regardless.”