Reince Priebus on Trump-Ryan Meeting: ‘A Very Positive Step Toward Party Unity’

Reince Priebus Speaks Justin Sullivan Getty
Justin Sullivan/Getty
Washington, DC

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus says the meeting between presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan on Thursday morning was “a very positive step toward party unity.”

“The meeting was great. It was a very positive step toward party unity,” Priebus posted on Twitter following the meeting between Ryan and Trump in his office at the Republican National Committee (RNC) headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who was the first senator to endorse Trump, told MSNBC, “There’s a lot that can be accomplished. There’s so much common round here.”

“I [have] good optimistic views about the meeting and I think we’ll continue to build unity,” he added, saying, “smart Republicans need to listen to what the voters are saying,” suggesting the voters like Trump and his policies. “You have a candidate that’s adding to the party, bringing in new people.”

Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), who passed by the RNC during the meeting, told MSNBC, “I think we’ll probably have a beginning of a relationship here.”

Cole said be believes Ryan and Trump will be able to find “common ground,” adding that this is a step in the “beginning of a healing process” to bring the party together, not tearing it apart.

On Thursday, the first member of House to endorse Donald Trump, Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), said the importance of the meeting is about uniting the party.

Collins, who met with Ryan the day before the meeting, told MSNBC on Thursday, “We’re going to win in November. We want to be united sooner than later.”

He added that Ryan is being “deliberative” in getting to know Trump. Given the deliberative nature of Ryan, Collins added this meeting is “a natural first step.”

“We know that Mr. Ryan and Mr. Trump are worlds apart on trade,” he added. “Mr. Ryan was very clear that was an issue Mr. Trump ran on.” Collins added that the difference on trade is “not a quote disqualifier.”

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) also commented on the meeting while it was under way, telling MSNBC, “It is a getting to know you type meeting.” She stressed policy may be a big part of the discussion, saying, “Paul is all about policy,” adding, “it’s in his DNA.”

Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), who has been hesitant in supporting Trump, suggested the billionaire’s policy positions are an issue for him.

“There are two types of people that have raised concerns about Donald Trump,” Dent told MSNBC, saying there are those on the hard right, and others like him, who are concerned about the lack of policy substance or conflicting positions.

“For me…he’s kind of lifted back the curtain a little bit,” Dent added, saying that the Republican base is ideological driven, but “that’s not the case” this election and the people who support Trump understand that.

A small group of anti-Trump protesters gathered outside the RNC prior to Trump’s arrival, staying throughout the meeting.

Following Trump’s meeting with Ryan and GOP leadership, he will head across Capitol Hill and meet with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).