Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump reached out to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s office to arrange a meeting, hours before Ryan said on CNN that he could not yet support Trump as the nominee.
Jake Sherman of Politico reports that Ryan’s office received the invitation, but that Ryan himself was not personally aware of it.
Sherman also reports that Ryan informed Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus before his pre-taped interview aired on The Lead with Jake Tapper. However, according to Sherman’s sources, Ryan’s office did not inform Trump.
Trump’s campaign was stunned by Ryan’s interview. Earlier on Thursday, campaign sources said, advisers to the candidate had reached out to Ryan’s office with an invitation: Would the speaker be able to meet with Trump for a one-on-one meeting to discuss the fall campaign and the party’s agenda? The invitation was passed on to a staffer, and the campaign didn’t hear back immediately from Ryan’s office.
The next thing the Trump campaign knew, there was Ryan on national TV. What just happened, aides asked? They got in touch with Ryan’s office. The invitation was off the table, the campaign sources said, who believe Ryan hadn’t received word of the offer to meet personally with Trump by the time the speaker went on TV.
An aide to Ryan responded that there was no offer for a one-on-one meeting. There was chatter about a staff-level discussion, the person said, and a meeting between Trump and a large group of House Republicans. Both were being brokered by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), a prominent Trump backer. Ryan, the aide added, is happy to meet with Trump.
On Friday morning, Trump appeared on Breitbart News Daily and confirmed that Ryan had not reached out to him before telling CNN that he could not yet support him. “I don’t know what he was doing. I was surprised … I like him, but the fact that he would do that — and he’s doing it under the banner of unity, but in actuality, that’s the opposite of unity, ” Trump said.
In January, Ryan pledged to support Trump if he became the party’s nominee.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new e-book, Leadership Secrets of the Kings and Prophets: What the Bible’s Struggles Teach Us About Today, is on sale through Amazon Kindle Direct. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.