Ryan: ‘Not Ready’ To Support Trump, ‘At This Point,’ But ‘I Hope To’ and ‘Want To’

House Speaker Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) stated that he was “not ready” to support presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump “at this point” but that “I hope to” and “I want to” on Thursday’s broadcast of CNN’s “The Lead.”

Ryan was asked, “[Y]ou 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?”

He answered, “Well, to be perfectly candid with you, Jake, I’m just not ready to do that at this point. I am not there right now, and I hope to though, and I want to. But I think what is required is that we unify this party. And I think the bulk of the burden on unifying the party will have to come from our presumptive nominee. I don’t want to underplay what he accomplished. He needs to be congratulated for an enormous accomplishment…but he also inherited something very special, that’s very special to a lot of us This is the party of Lincoln, of Reagan, of Jack Kemp, and we don’t always nominate a Lincoln and a Reagan every four years, but we hope that our nominee aspires to be Lincoln and Reagan-esque, that that person advances the principals of our party, and appeals to a wide vast majority of Americans. And so, I think what is necessary to make this to work, to — for this to unify, is to actually take our principles and advance them, and that’s what we want to see. Saying we’re unified doesn’t in and of itself unify us, but actually taking the principles that we believe in, showing that there’s a dedication to those, and running a principled campaign that Republicans can be proud about, and that can actually appeal to a majority of Americans, that to me, is what it takes unify this party.”

He added, “[A]t this point, I think that he needs to do more to unify this party, to bring all wings of the Republican Party together, and then to go forward, and to appeal to all Americans, in every walk of life, every background, a majority of independents and discerning Democrats. And so, you know, I think conservatives want to know, does he share the values and our principles on limited government, the proper role of the executive, adherence to the Constitution. There are lots of questions that conservatives, I think, are going to want answers to, myself included. And I want to be a part of this unifying process. I want to help unify this party, but we have to unify it, I think, for us to be successful.”

When asked if there was anything specific Trump had done that had caused this reluctance, Ryan answered, “I hope to support our nominee. I hope to support his candidacy fully, and I want to do that, but right now, just I got to tell you Jake, just being candid with you, at this point, I’m just not there right now.”

Ryan continued, “I think what a lot of Republicans want to see is that we have a standard-bearer that bears our standards, and that unifies all the wings Republican Party.”

He further stated, “[N]o Republican should ever think about supporting Hillary Clinton, let me make that clear.”

After being played a clip of his former running mate, Mitt Romney criticizing Trump, and being asked whether he agreed with that position, Ryan stated, “[I]t’s time to go to from tapping into anger, to channeling that anger into solutions. It’s time to set aside bullying, to set aside belittlement, and appeal to higher aspirations, appeal to what is good in us, and to lead a country and a party to having a vast majority of Americans enthusiastic about choosing a path.”

He added that it was “possible” for the party to be unified, but it isn’t there at the moment. And “I think we can beat Hillary Clinton, are you kidding me? So, yes, it’s possible. And it needs to be possible, because so much is at stake. But work needs to be done, and I think our presumptive nominee has a bit of work to do.”

Ryan further stated, “[A]s a conservative, I want to see a verification that our conservative principles will be championed, will be run on, will be represented, and will be brought to the public in the country in a way that’s appealing, for us to be successful. So, like I said, we’re not there yet.”

He did say that Trump “earned” and “deserved” the nomination, and that there is “a bit of humility that each of needs, especially leaders in Congress, which is, he tapped into something in this country that was very powerful, and people are sending a message to Washington that we need to learn from and listen to.”

Later in the interview, Ryan was asked, “But doesn’t he have to completely revoke, in order to become the man that can unite behind the principles and the policies that you support? Doesn’t he completely have to say, that, he doesn’t support the deportation of 12 million undocumented immigrants because you disagree with that? That he doesn’t support banning all Muslims from entering the United States because you don’t support that?”

Ryan answered, “No, I’m not saying that at all. … I’m not saying he’s got to support my policies. He won fair and square on his policies. And yes, he comes from a different wing of the party than the one I do. But I’ve got to tell you one thing, Jake, if we don’t unify all wings of the party, we’re not going win this election. So, the question is, what can you do to unify all wings of the party to go forward?” And that if he felt the need to speak out, out of “conscience” against things like a Muslim ban, he would do so, but hopes he doesn’t have to.

He continued, “[I]t is too much to ask someone to change their policy views that they were duly elected on on some policy dispute. But are we putting our policies based upon the principles that all conservatives and all Republicans share? You know, limited government, the Constitution, a — the right role for the executive? … Those are the things that we believe in, and we want to make sure our standard-bearer bears those standards, that our standard-bearer champions those.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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