Republican nominee Donald Trump endorsed Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) ahead of Ryan’s primary on Tuesday during a campaign rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin on Friday night. He also endorsed Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH).
“We need unity,” the New Yorker stated. “This campaign is not about me or any one candidate — it’s about America.”
“It’s time to change a rigged political system that works only for the insiders and to replace it with a government that serves the people,” he declared. “I need a Republican Senate and a House to accomplish all of the changes we have to make.”
“I understand and embrace the wisdom of Ronald Reagan’s big tent within the party,” Trump said. “We will be the big tent party.”
“We will have disagreements, but we will disagree as friends and never stop working together towards victory,” Trump added. “In our shared mission to make America great again, I support and endorse our Speaker of the House Paul Ryan,” the Republican nominee declared, saying Ryan is a “good man.”
“While I’m at it,” Trump went on, “I hold in the highest esteem Sen. John McCain.”
Trump said he fully supported and endorsed McCain as well as Ayotte, both of whom he hesitated to endorse earlier in the week.
Trump’s endorsement comes after he told the Washington Post on Tuesday he wasn’t ready to endorse Ryan and praised Ryan’s challenger Paul Nehlen.
When reports emerged early on Friday that Trump would endorse Ryan, Nehlen released a statement responding to the news, suggesting Trump had to endorse Ryan because he’s the GOP nominee.
“Given his stature as our party’s official nominee, Mr. Trump’s decision to support the Republican Speaker is appropriate and is a display of true leadership,” Nehlen stated. “Mr. Trump’s early refusal to endorse Ryan sent a clear signal to Wisconsin voters that Ryan is not his preferred candidate in this race. Speaker Ryan’s globalist agenda stands in clear opposition to the will of the Republican electorate, who want safe communities, immigration control, smart trade deals, and leaders who put the needs of the American people first,”