Paul Ryan: 'I'm just not ready' to back Donald Trump – CNN

Story highlights

  • Ryan’s comments make him the highest-level GOP official to reject Trump since he became the presumptive nominee
  • The House speaker said, “I’m just not ready to do that at this point” when asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper
“I’m just not ready to do that at this point. I’m not there right now,” the Wisconsin Republican told CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper” in an interview.
Ryan’s position makes him the highest-level GOP official to reject Trump since the real estate mogul became the last candidate standing in the party’s nominating contest. His move gives down-ballot Republicans cover to hold off on supporting Trump. It could also keep his agenda in the House from being overtaken by Trump’s policy positions.
Ryan said he hopes to eventually back Trump and “to be a part of this unifying process.” The first moves, though, must come from Trump, he said.
Ryan said he wants Trump to unify “all wings of the Republican Party and the conservative movement” and then run a campaign that will allow Americans to “have something that they’re proud to support and proud to be a part of.”
“And we’ve got a ways to go from here to there,” Ryan said.
Asked whether Trump’s proposed Muslim ban, his opposition to free trade and his call to deport 12 million undocumented immigrants would preclude him from ever supporting Trump, Ryan said: “We got work to do.”
Trump responded to Ryan late Thursday afternoon, saying in a statement that “I am not ready to support Speaker Ryan’s agenda. Perhaps in the future we can work together and come to an agreement about what is best for the American people. They have been treated so badly for so long that it is about time for politicians to put them first!”
Trump didn’t address Ryan’s comments at a campaign event Thursday night in Charleston, West Virginia. But speaking to reporters at the event, Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, dismissed the idea that the remarks are a slap in the face to the presumptive nominee coming from the leader of the Republican Party.
Lewandowski then pointed to onstage to Trump.
“That’s the leader of the Republican Party,” Lewandowski said, adding that it’s too early to say where Trump and Ryan might find common ground in terms of their political agenda.
Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room” Thursday that RNC chair Reince Priebus “connected” Ryan and Trump for a potential meeting and that his understanding is that “it’s going to happen.”
Spicer, however, did not provide further details about the potential meeting, such as when it would happen and where. Spicer added that Priebus was unaware of Ryan’s plan to appear on “The Lead.”
Lewandowski said no meeting has been set with Ryan. Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Ryan, tweeted “happy to attend” when he learned of Spicer’s comments.
Earlier Thursday, CNN reached out to 16 Republican elected officials, leaders and major fundraisers associated with former President Ronald Reagan, both Presidents Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney. Speaking on background, the Republicans, like Ryan, said they were not yet ready to support Trump. Because of this, they said they were not planning to go to the convention, though they won’t vote for Clinton.
After Ryan’s announcement, however, several said they were thrilled at the House speaker’s position.

Striking comments from Ryan

Ryan’s comments were striking because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday night that he’d back Trump.
Neither of the last two Republican presidents — George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush — will attend the GOP convention in Cleveland. Nor will the 2008 nominee, John McCain, or the 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney.
The House speaker said he’d only started considering whether he’d support Trump after the real estate mogul won Indiana’s primary Tuesday — knocking both Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich out of the race and ending the possibility of a contested convention.
“I thought about this two days ago. I thought, actually, this thing was going to go to June 7 at the very least — probably to a convention — and so this is all pretty new for us,” he said.
“The bulk of the burden on unifying the party will have to come from our presumptive nominee,” Ryan said. “I don’t want to underplay what he accomplished. … But he also inherits something very special, that’s very special to a lot of us. This is the party of Lincoln and Reagan and Jack Kemp. And we don’t always nominate a Lincoln or a Reagan every four years, but we hope that our nominee aspires to be Lincoln- or Reagan-esque — that that person advances the principles of our party and appeals to a wide, vast majority of Americans.”
He continued: “And so, I think what is necessary to make this work, 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 all 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 to unify this party.”

Decision came ‘very fast’

Ryan’s decision to oppose Trump, at least for now, came “very fast,” a source familiar with Ryan’s thinking told CNN, adding that the speaker “truly was not prepared for this. He really did not expect Cruz to drop out. He was prepared for a contested convention. And when this happened, he just decided to go with his gut — which was to hold off.”
His comments about Trump quickly became a political football, with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign highlighting the speaker as part of a “growing list of conservatives rebuking Trump” in an email.
A Republican strategist involved in Senate races told CNN that he’s worried Ryan has set up a situation that will be difficult for him to eventually get out of.
“What are the conditions by which Ryan will ever endorse? I don’t know how this ends,” the strategist said. “What would make him get to a yes on Trump? I’m not sure what Trump can do, other than change his positions.”
The strategist added, “It helps people by giving them cover. On the other hand, if you think of all the people who have already gone out of their way to endorse Trump, they’re asking themselves, ‘I have already jumped into the pool, where is Ryan?'”
A friend of Ryan’s said Thursday’s announcement was “totally Paul being torn by his own conscience. He couldn’t just say, ‘Everything I believe in doesn’t matter.'”
Ryan’s remarks provide some cover for reluctant Republicans, especially for those running for reelection in blue states, the friend added.
The friend said Ryan could eventually shift — but “the ball is now in (Trump’s) court.”
“Let’s see what he does with it,” the friend said.

A frequent critic

Ryan has expressed misgivings about Trump’s campaign for months.
When Trump proposed indefinitely banning Muslims from the United States in December, Ryan responded that such a move is “not who we are as a party” and in violation of the Constitution.
“This is not conservatism,” he said then, adding, “Some of our best and biggest allies in this struggle and fight against radical Islam terror are Muslims.”
In March, Ryan slammed Trump’s refusal to disavow the support of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke in an interview with Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“If a person wants to be the nominee of the Republican Party, there can be no evasion and no games. They must reject any group or cause that is built on bigotry. This party does not prey on people’s prejudices,” Ryan told reporters on Capitol Hill.
Later that month, he called the violent skirmishes that had broken out at Trump’s rallies “very concerning” and said that candidates must “take responsibility for the environment at their rallies.”
When Trump warned that there’d be “riots” at the GOP convention if he were denied the party’s nomination, Ryan was sharply critical, saying that “nobody should say such things in my opinion because to even address or hint at violence is unacceptable.”
But as recently as last week, Ryan was downplaying his rift with Trump. He’d encouraged Republicans to attend the party’s convention in Cleveland, and said he’d had a “very pleasant conversation” with Trump.
“I feel like we will be able to unify Republicans and conservatives to offer the country this fall,” Ryan told CNN, “a very clear and compelling choice so that the people of this nation get to decide where we go as a country.”

A third-party candidate?

Conservative blogger and #NeverTrump movement leader Erick Erickson told CNN he and other Trump opponents are searching for a candidate who could mount a third-party bid against Trump and Clinton.
“Donald Trump cannot consolidate the Republican base and many Republicans cannot accept a Hillary Clinton donor as the Republican nominee,” Erickson said. “If the delegates ratify this madness in Cleveland, many of us will look elsewhere for a credible candidate to oppose both Trump and Clinton.”
Freshman Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse has emerged as a central figure in the movement to oppose Trump. He argued for a third-party candidate in a Facebook post early Thursday morning.
“Why shouldn’t America draft an honest leader who will focus on 70% solutions for the next four years?” Sasse wrote. “You know … an adult?”

CNN’s Dana Bash, Gloria Borger, Sara Murray and Jamie Gangel contributed to this report.

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Paul Ryan: 'I'm just not ready' to back Donald Trump – CNN

Story highlights

  • Ryan’s comments make him the highest-level GOP official to reject Trump since he became the presumptive nominee
  • The House speaker said, “I’m just not ready to do that at this point” when asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper
“I’m just not ready to do that at this point. I’m not there right now,” the Wisconsin Republican told CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper” in an interview.
Ryan’s position makes him the highest-level GOP official to reject Trump since the real estate mogul became the last candidate standing in the party’s nominating contest. His move gives down-ballot Republicans cover to hold off on supporting Trump. It could also keep his agenda in the House from being overtaken by Trump’s policy positions.
Ryan said he hopes to eventually back Trump and “to be a part of this unifying process.” The first moves, though, must come from Trump, he said.
Ryan said he wants Trump to unify “all wings of the Republican Party and the conservative movement” and then run a campaign that will allow Americans to “have something that they’re proud to support and proud to be a part of.”
“And we’ve got a ways to go from here to there,” Ryan said.
Asked whether Trump’s proposed Muslim ban, his opposition to free trade and his call to deport 12 million undocumented immigrants would preclude him from ever supporting Trump, Ryan said: “We got work to do.”
Trump responded to Ryan late Thursday afternoon, saying in a statement that “I am not ready to support Speaker Ryan’s agenda. Perhaps in the future we can work together and come to an agreement about what is best for the American people. They have been treated so badly for so long that it is about time for politicians to put them first!”
Trump didn’t address Ryan’s comments at a campaign event Thursday night in Charleston, West Virginia. But speaking to reporters at the event, Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, dismissed the idea that the remarks are a slap in the face to the presumptive nominee coming from the leader of the Republican Party.
Lewandowski then pointed to onstage to Trump.
“That’s the leader of the Republican Party,” Lewandowski said, adding that it’s too early to say where Trump and Ryan might find common ground in terms of their political agenda.
Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room” Thursday that RNC chair Reince Priebus “connected” Ryan and Trump for a potential meeting and that his understanding is that “it’s going to happen.”
Spicer, however, did not provide further details about the potential meeting, such as when it would happen and where. Spicer added that Priebus was unaware of Ryan’s plan to appear on “The Lead.”
Lewandowski said no meeting has been set with Ryan. Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Ryan, tweeted “happy to attend” when he learned of Spicer’s comments.
Earlier Thursday, CNN reached out to 16 Republican elected officials, leaders and major fundraisers associated with former President Ronald Reagan, both Presidents Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney. Speaking on background, the Republicans, like Ryan, said they were not yet ready to support Trump. Because of this, they said they were not planning to go to the convention, though they won’t vote for Clinton.
After Ryan’s announcement, however, several said they were thrilled at the House speaker’s position.

Striking comments from Ryan

Ryan’s comments were striking because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday night that he’d back Trump.
Neither of the last two Republican presidents — George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush — will attend the GOP convention in Cleveland. Nor will the 2008 nominee, John McCain, or the 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney.
The House speaker said he’d only started considering whether he’d support Trump after the real estate mogul won Indiana’s primary Tuesday — knocking both Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich out of the race and ending the possibility of a contested convention.
“I thought about this two days ago. I thought, actually, this thing was going to go to June 7 at the very least — probably to a convention — and so this is all pretty new for us,” he said.
“The bulk of the burden on unifying the party will have to come from our presumptive nominee,” Ryan said. “I don’t want to underplay what he accomplished. … But he also inherits something very special, that’s very special to a lot of us. This is the party of Lincoln and Reagan and Jack Kemp. And we don’t always nominate a Lincoln or a Reagan every four years, but we hope that our nominee aspires to be Lincoln- or Reagan-esque — that that person advances the principles of our party and appeals to a wide, vast majority of Americans.”
He continued: “And so, I think what is necessary to make this work, 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 all 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 to unify this party.”

Decision came ‘very fast’

Ryan’s decision to oppose Trump, at least for now, came “very fast,” a source familiar with Ryan’s thinking told CNN, adding that the speaker “truly was not prepared for this. He really did not expect Cruz to drop out. He was prepared for a contested convention. And when this happened, he just decided to go with his gut — which was to hold off.”
His comments about Trump quickly became a political football, with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign highlighting the speaker as part of a “growing list of conservatives rebuking Trump” in an email.
A Republican strategist involved in Senate races told CNN that he’s worried Ryan has set up a situation that will be difficult for him to eventually get out of.
“What are the conditions by which Ryan will ever endorse? I don’t know how this ends,” the strategist said. “What would make him get to a yes on Trump? I’m not sure what Trump can do, other than change his positions.”
The strategist added, “It helps people by giving them cover. On the other hand, if you think of all the people who have already gone out of their way to endorse Trump, they’re asking themselves, ‘I have already jumped into the pool, where is Ryan?'”
A friend of Ryan’s said Thursday’s announcement was “totally Paul being torn by his own conscience. He couldn’t just say, ‘Everything I believe in doesn’t matter.'”
Ryan’s remarks provide some cover for reluctant Republicans, especially for those running for reelection in blue states, the friend added.
The friend said Ryan could eventually shift — but “the ball is now in (Trump’s) court.”
“Let’s see what he does with it,” the friend said.

A frequent critic

Ryan has expressed misgivings about Trump’s campaign for months.
When Trump proposed indefinitely banning Muslims from the United States in December, Ryan responded that such a move is “not who we are as a party” and in violation of the Constitution.
“This is not conservatism,” he said then, adding, “Some of our best and biggest allies in this struggle and fight against radical Islam terror are Muslims.”
In March, Ryan slammed Trump’s refusal to disavow the support of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke in an interview with Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“If a person wants to be the nominee of the Republican Party, there can be no evasion and no games. They must reject any group or cause that is built on bigotry. This party does not prey on people’s prejudices,” Ryan told reporters on Capitol Hill.
Later that month, he called the violent skirmishes that had broken out at Trump’s rallies “very concerning” and said that candidates must “take responsibility for the environment at their rallies.”
When Trump warned that there’d be “riots” at the GOP convention if he were denied the party’s nomination, Ryan was sharply critical, saying that “nobody should say such things in my opinion because to even address or hint at violence is unacceptable.”
But as recently as last week, Ryan was downplaying his rift with Trump. He’d encouraged Republicans to attend the party’s convention in Cleveland, and said he’d had a “very pleasant conversation” with Trump.
“I feel like we will be able to unify Republicans and conservatives to offer the country this fall,” Ryan told CNN, “a very clear and compelling choice so that the people of this nation get to decide where we go as a country.”

A third-party candidate?

Conservative blogger and #NeverTrump movement leader Erick Erickson told CNN he and other Trump opponents are searching for a candidate who could mount a third-party bid against Trump and Clinton.
“Donald Trump cannot consolidate the Republican base and many Republicans cannot accept a Hillary Clinton donor as the Republican nominee,” Erickson said. “If the delegates ratify this madness in Cleveland, many of us will look elsewhere for a credible candidate to oppose both Trump and Clinton.”
Freshman Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse has emerged as a central figure in the movement to oppose Trump. He argued for a third-party candidate in a Facebook post early Thursday morning.
“Why shouldn’t America draft an honest leader who will focus on 70% solutions for the next four years?” Sasse wrote. “You know … an adult?”

CNN’s Dana Bash, Gloria Borger, Sara Murray and Jamie Gangel contributed to this report.

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Ryan says he is 'not ready' to back Trump, deepening GOP divide – Washington Post

By , and ,

In an extraordinary rebuke of the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.), the nation’s highest-ranking GOP official, said Thursday that he could not support Donald Trump until he changes his tone and demonstrates that he shares the party’s values.

While acknowledging that Trump has mobilized a powerful grass-roots movement and earned the nomination, Ryan said that Trump has not shown himself to be “a standard-bearer who bears our standard” — and he put the onus on the business mogul to recalibrate his campaign and offer a more inclusive vision.

Asked by CNN anchor Jake Tapper whether he backs Trump, Ryan responded: “I’m just not ready to do that at this point. I’m not there right now. And I hope to, though, and I want to. But I think what is required is that we unify the party. And I think the bulk of the burden on unifying the party will have to come from our presumptive nominee.”

“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,” Ryan said, adding that he hopes the candidate “advances the principles of our party and appeals to a wide, vast majority of Americans.”

Ryan’s comments, which came as a surprise to some close allies, deepened the divide in a party now facing a painful reckoning about Trump. The GOP’s only two living presidents — George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush — said they would not endorse him, while its past two nominees — Mitt Romney and John McCain — said they did not plan to attend Trump’s nominating convention this summer in Cleveland. McCain, however, said he would support Trump and has offered to counsel him on foreign policy.

[Donald trump takes the reins of a divided Republican Party]

Trump was defiant in his response to Ryan, offering a firm defense of his candidacy and asserting that he has a mandate from Republican voters. In a notable departure from his handling of previous feuds, Trump did not insult Ryan personally.

“I am not ready to support Speaker Ryan’s agenda,” Trump said in a statement. “Perhaps in the future we can work together and come to an agreement about what is best for the American people. They have been treated so badly for so long that it is about time for politicians to put them first!”

Ryan’s remarks broke a previous pledge to support whoever becomes the GOP nominee. It also puts him at odds with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who offered tempered support for Trump on Wednesday, and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, a Ryan friend who has urged Republicans to unite behind Trump.

Priebus is trying to broker a Trump and Ryan meeting next week. Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck tweeted that the speaker would be “happy to attend.”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), a Trump supporter and adviser, told reporters in Trenton that he would reach out to Ryan to discuss his concerns.

Other Republicans are swiftly coming around on Trump. Former Texas governor Rick Perry, who delivered the first vicious takedown of Trump last summer, told CNN that he now supports him and is open to being his running mate. Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, whose family helped bankroll an anti-Trump super PAC, plans to endorse Trump on Friday at a rally in Omaha.

The tensions between Trump and Ryan go beyond temperament. They have philosophical differences about the size and scope of government. Ryan champions free-trade agreements, international military engagement, and sweeping overhauls of Social Security and Medicare, whereas Trump is an avowed opponent of recent trade deals, foreign interventions and proposed changes to entitlement programs.

[Paul Ryan tries to pivot from disheartened state of politics]

Furthermore, Ryan frames his politics in stark moral terms, while Trump’s manner was forged by his experiences in the Manhattan business and tabloid wars of the 1980s.

“It’s time to go from tapping anger to channeling that anger into solutions,” Ryan said. “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.”

Ryan said that no Republican should consider supporting likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, but he did not spell out what he would do if he could not get around to backing Trump. Ryan’s indecision comes as some conservatives, including freshman Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), are trying to draft an independent, third-party candidate.

“It’s a moment of moral clarity,” said Peter Wehner, a center-right commentator and senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. “If Trump is smart, he’ll take this message to heart and figure out that he doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning if he doesn’t unify the fractured party.”

Trump is expected to visit Washington next week to meet with lawmakers. But there are no plans for Trump to address the full House Republican Conference — a departure from tradition for both parties, in which the presumptive nominees trek to Capitol Hill to meet with their respective cau­cuses in meetings hosted by the congressional leadership.

Aides to McConnell declined Thursday to say whether any such meeting with Trump would occur among Senate Republicans.

Trump’s supporters in Congress shrugged off Ryan. “Republicans, we have to listen to the voters’ voices,” said Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.). “Everyone will come at their own time. We’re not pressuring anyone, just welcoming.”

Polling shows Trump is deeply unpopular with wide swaths of the electorate — especially women, young people, Latinos and African Americans — and Republicans are fearful that November could be a bloodbath that jeopardizes their Senate and House majorities.

[Trump would be least popular major party nominee in modern times]

In part because of his role as chairman of the Republican National Convention, Ryan has refrained from criticizing Trump too directly. But he has made no secret of his disdain for him. He has given a series of speeches outlining a distinct policy agenda and message as a sort of road map for embattled GOP lawmakers who may seek to differentiate their candidacies from Trump.

Ryan’s comments Thursday offer a new way for like-minded Republicans to address Trump’s pending nomination.

“There has been growing anxiety among members in purple and blue districts, marginal seats,” said Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.), a Ryan ally. “Paul truly believes what he’s saying. . . . It’s personal and sincere. But there is a political equation to all this. He knows what the feeling is inside of the House as much as anyone.”

Ryan shocked some leading Republicans, who expected he would dutifully line up behind the presumptive nominee. William J. Bennett, a former Reagan administration official and a mentor to Ryan, said he was “knocked out of my chair” as he watched Ryan on CNN.

“This is a slap at the people,” Bennett said. “He thinks he can nudge Trump in a certain direction, but it doesn’t make sense to expect Trump to have some kind of personality transformation. His approach was not conducive to unification, which is what the party needs.”

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, a Trump defender, said the GOP is undergoing “a natural process” but was critical of Ryan.

“Ryan has to bring together a House GOP in which more and more members will support Trump,” Gingrich said. “McConnell and McCain have been far better leaders in trying to bring the party together.”

Ryan made his decision about Trump on Wednesday, according to a senior House leadership aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak freely about Ryan’s internal deliberations.

It’s unclear if the speaker ever will fully embrace Trump, but Ryan still plans to oversee the convention as co-chairman, a largely ceremonial role. He does not plan to deliver a formal speech in Cleveland and expects to focus fully on campaigning for House Republicans, the aide said.

“Ryan is a conviction politician,” said Wehner, an ally. “He’s not a Republican first and foremost and only. Ryan is somebody who has a set of convictions and whose philosophical beliefs transcend even the party beliefs, and that’s not true for everybody else.”

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Paul Ryan: 'I'm just not ready' to back Donald Trump – CNN

Story highlights

  • Ryan’s comments make him the highest-level GOP official to reject Trump since he became the presumptive nominee
  • The House speaker said, “I’m just not ready to do that at this point” when asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper
“I’m just not ready to do that at this point. I’m not there right now,” the Wisconsin Republican told CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper” in an interview.
Ryan’s position makes him the highest-level GOP official to reject Trump since the real estate mogul became the last candidate standing in the party’s nominating contest. His move gives down-ballot Republicans cover to hold off on supporting Trump. It could also keep his agenda in the House from being overtaken by Trump’s policy positions.
Ryan said he hopes to eventually back Trump and “to be a part of this unifying process.” The first moves, though, must come from Trump, he said.
Ryan said he wants Trump to unify “all wings of the Republican Party and the conservative movement” and then run a campaign that will allow Americans to “have something that they’re proud to support and proud to be a part of.”
“And we’ve got a ways to go from here to there,” Ryan said.
Asked whether Trump’s proposed Muslim ban, his opposition to free trade and his call to deport 12 million undocumented immigrants would preclude him from ever supporting Trump, Ryan said: “We got work to do.”
Trump responded to Ryan late Thursday afternoon, saying in a statement that “I am not ready to support Speaker Ryan’s agenda. Perhaps in the future we can work together and come to an agreement about what is best for the American people. They have been treated so badly for so long that it is about time for politicians to put them first!”
Trump didn’t address Ryan’s comments at a campaign event Thursday night in Charleston, West Virginia. But speaking to reporters at the event, Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, dismissed the idea that the remarks are a slap in the face to the presumptive nominee coming from the leader of the Republican Party.
Lewandowski then pointed to onstage to Trump.
“That’s the leader of the Republican Party,” Lewandowski said, adding that it’s too early to say where Trump and Ryan might find common ground in terms of their political agenda.
Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room” Thursday that RNC chair Reince Priebus “connected” Ryan and Trump for a potential meeting and that his understanding is that “it’s going to happen.”
Spicer, however, did not provide further details about the potential meeting, such as when it would happen and where. Spicer added that Priebus was unaware of Ryan’s plan to appear on “The Lead.”
Lewandowski said no meeting has been set with Ryan. Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Ryan, tweeted “happy to attend” when he learned of Spicer’s comments.
Earlier Thursday, CNN reached out to 16 Republican elected officials, leaders and major fundraisers associated with former President Ronald Reagan, both Presidents Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney. Speaking on background, the Republicans, like Ryan, said they were not yet ready to support Trump. Because of this, they said they were not planning to go to the convention, though they won’t vote for Clinton.
After Ryan’s announcement, however, several said they were thrilled at the House speaker’s position.

Striking comments from Ryan

Ryan’s comments were striking because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday night that he’d back Trump.
Neither of the last two Republican presidents — George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush — will attend the GOP convention in Cleveland. Nor will the 2008 nominee, John McCain, or the 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney.
The House speaker said he’d only started considering whether he’d support Trump after the real estate mogul won Indiana’s primary Tuesday — knocking both Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich out of the race and ending the possibility of a contested convention.
“I thought about this two days ago. I thought, actually, this thing was going to go to June 7 at the very least — probably to a convention — and so this is all pretty new for us,” he said.
“The bulk of the burden on unifying the party will have to come from our presumptive nominee,” Ryan said. “I don’t want to underplay what he accomplished. … But he also inherits something very special, that’s very special to a lot of us. This is the party of Lincoln and Reagan and Jack Kemp. And we don’t always nominate a Lincoln or a Reagan every four years, but we hope that our nominee aspires to be Lincoln- or Reagan-esque — that that person advances the principles of our party and appeals to a wide, vast majority of Americans.”
He continued: “And so, I think what is necessary to make this work, 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 all 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 to unify this party.”

Decision came ‘very fast’

Ryan’s decision to oppose Trump, at least for now, came “very fast,” a source familiar with Ryan’s thinking told CNN, adding that the speaker “truly was not prepared for this. He really did not expect Cruz to drop out. He was prepared for a contested convention. And when this happened, he just decided to go with his gut — which was to hold off.”
His comments about Trump quickly became a political football, with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign highlighting the speaker as part of a “growing list of conservatives rebuking Trump” in an email.
A Republican strategist involved in Senate races told CNN that he’s worried Ryan has set up a situation that will be difficult for him to eventually get out of.
“What are the conditions by which Ryan will ever endorse? I don’t know how this ends,” the strategist said. “What would make him get to a yes on Trump? I’m not sure what Trump can do, other than change his positions.”
The strategist added, “It helps people by giving them cover. On the other hand, if you think of all the people who have already gone out of their way to endorse Trump, they’re asking themselves, ‘I have already jumped into the pool, where is Ryan?'”
A friend of Ryan’s said Thursday’s announcement was “totally Paul being torn by his own conscience. He couldn’t just say, ‘Everything I believe in doesn’t matter.'”
Ryan’s remarks provide some cover for reluctant Republicans, especially for those running for reelection in blue states, the friend added.
The friend said Ryan could eventually shift — but “the ball is now in (Trump’s) court.”
“Let’s see what he does with it,” the friend said.

A frequent critic

Ryan has expressed misgivings about Trump’s campaign for months.
When Trump proposed indefinitely banning Muslims from the United States in December, Ryan responded that such a move is “not who we are as a party” and in violation of the Constitution.
“This is not conservatism,” he said then, adding, “Some of our best and biggest allies in this struggle and fight against radical Islam terror are Muslims.”
In March, Ryan slammed Trump’s refusal to disavow the support of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke in an interview with Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“If a person wants to be the nominee of the Republican Party, there can be no evasion and no games. They must reject any group or cause that is built on bigotry. This party does not prey on people’s prejudices,” Ryan told reporters on Capitol Hill.
Later that month, he called the violent skirmishes that had broken out at Trump’s rallies “very concerning” and said that candidates must “take responsibility for the environment at their rallies.”
When Trump warned that there’d be “riots” at the GOP convention if he were denied the party’s nomination, Ryan was sharply critical, saying that “nobody should say such things in my opinion because to even address or hint at violence is unacceptable.”
But as recently as last week, Ryan was downplaying his rift with Trump. He’d encouraged Republicans to attend the party’s convention in Cleveland, and said he’d had a “very pleasant conversation” with Trump.
“I feel like we will be able to unify Republicans and conservatives to offer the country this fall,” Ryan told CNN, “a very clear and compelling choice so that the people of this nation get to decide where we go as a country.”

A third-party candidate?

Conservative blogger and #NeverTrump movement leader Erick Erickson told CNN he and other Trump opponents are searching for a candidate who could mount a third-party bid against Trump and Clinton.
“Donald Trump cannot consolidate the Republican base and many Republicans cannot accept a Hillary Clinton donor as the Republican nominee,” Erickson said. “If the delegates ratify this madness in Cleveland, many of us will look elsewhere for a credible candidate to oppose both Trump and Clinton.”
Freshman Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse has emerged as a central figure in the movement to oppose Trump. He argued for a third-party candidate in a Facebook post early Thursday morning.
“Why shouldn’t America draft an honest leader who will focus on 70% solutions for the next four years?” Sasse wrote. “You know … an adult?”

CNN’s Dana Bash, Gloria Borger, Sara Murray and Jamie Gangel contributed to this report.

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Paul Ryan: 'I'm just not ready' to back Donald Trump – CNN

Story highlights

  • Ryan’s comments make him the highest-level GOP official to reject Trump since he became the presumptive nominee
  • The House speaker said, “I’m just not ready to do that at this point” when asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper
“I’m just not ready to do that at this point. I’m not there right now,” the Wisconsin Republican told CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper” in an interview.
Ryan’s position makes him the highest-level GOP official to reject Trump since the real estate mogul became the last candidate standing in the party’s nominating contest. His move gives down-ballot Republicans cover to hold off on supporting Trump. It could also keep his agenda in the House from being overtaken by Trump’s policy positions.
Ryan said he hopes to eventually back Trump and “to be a part of this unifying process.” The first moves, though, must come from Trump, he said.
Ryan said he wants Trump to unify “all wings of the Republican Party and the conservative movement” and then run a campaign that will allow Americans to “have something that they’re proud to support and proud to be a part of.”
“And we’ve got a ways to go from here to there,” Ryan said.
Asked whether Trump’s proposed Muslim ban, his opposition to free trade and his call to deport 12 million undocumented immigrants would preclude him from ever supporting Trump, Ryan said: “We got work to do.”
Trump responded to Ryan late Thursday afternoon, saying in a statement that “I am not ready to support Speaker Ryan’s agenda. Perhaps in the future we can work together and come to an agreement about what is best for the American people. They have been treated so badly for so long that it is about time for politicians to put them first!”
Trump didn’t address Ryan’s comments at a campaign event Thursday night in Charleston, West Virginia. But speaking to reporters at the event, Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, dismissed the idea that the remarks are a slap in the face to the presumptive nominee coming from the leader of the Republican Party.
Lewandowski then pointed to onstage to Trump.
“That’s the leader of the Republican Party,” Lewandowski said, adding that it’s too early to say where Trump and Ryan might find common ground in terms of their political agenda.
Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room” Thursday that RNC chair Reince Priebus “connected” Ryan and Trump for a potential meeting and that his understanding is that “it’s going to happen.”
Spicer, however, did not provide further details about the potential meeting, such as when it would happen and where. Spicer added that Priebus was unaware of Ryan’s plan to appear on “The Lead.”
Lewandowski said no meeting has been set with Ryan. Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Ryan, tweeted “happy to attend” when he learned of Spicer’s comments.
Earlier Thursday, CNN reached out to 16 Republican elected officials, leaders and major fundraisers associated with former President Ronald Reagan, both Presidents Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney. Speaking on background, the Republicans, like Ryan, said they were not yet ready to support Trump. Because of this, they said they were not planning to go to the convention, though they won’t vote for Clinton.
After Ryan’s announcement, however, several said they were thrilled at the House speaker’s position.

Striking comments from Ryan

Ryan’s comments were striking because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday night that he’d back Trump.
Neither of the last two Republican presidents — George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush — will attend the GOP convention in Cleveland. Nor will the 2008 nominee, John McCain, or the 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney.
The House speaker said he’d only started considering whether he’d support Trump after the real estate mogul won Indiana’s primary Tuesday — knocking both Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich out of the race and ending the possibility of a contested convention.
“I thought about this two days ago. I thought, actually, this thing was going to go to June 7 at the very least — probably to a convention — and so this is all pretty new for us,” he said.
“The bulk of the burden on unifying the party will have to come from our presumptive nominee,” Ryan said. “I don’t want to underplay what he accomplished. … But he also inherits something very special, that’s very special to a lot of us. This is the party of Lincoln and Reagan and Jack Kemp. And we don’t always nominate a Lincoln or a Reagan every four years, but we hope that our nominee aspires to be Lincoln- or Reagan-esque — that that person advances the principles of our party and appeals to a wide, vast majority of Americans.”
He continued: “And so, I think what is necessary to make this work, 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 all 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 to unify this party.”

Decision came ‘very fast’

Ryan’s decision to oppose Trump, at least for now, came “very fast,” a source familiar with Ryan’s thinking told CNN, adding that the speaker “truly was not prepared for this. He really did not expect Cruz to drop out. He was prepared for a contested convention. And when this happened, he just decided to go with his gut — which was to hold off.”
His comments about Trump quickly became a political football, with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign highlighting the speaker as part of a “growing list of conservatives rebuking Trump” in an email.
A Republican strategist involved in Senate races told CNN that he’s worried Ryan has set up a situation that will be difficult for him to eventually get out of.
“What are the conditions by which Ryan will ever endorse? I don’t know how this ends,” the strategist said. “What would make him get to a yes on Trump? I’m not sure what Trump can do, other than change his positions.”
The strategist added, “It helps people by giving them cover. On the other hand, if you think of all the people who have already gone out of their way to endorse Trump, they’re asking themselves, ‘I have already jumped into the pool, where is Ryan?'”
A friend of Ryan’s said Thursday’s announcement was “totally Paul being torn by his own conscience. He couldn’t just say, ‘Everything I believe in doesn’t matter.'”
Ryan’s remarks provide some cover for reluctant Republicans, especially for those running for reelection in blue states, the friend added.
The friend said Ryan could eventually shift — but “the ball is now in (Trump’s) court.”
“Let’s see what he does with it,” the friend said.

A frequent critic

Ryan has expressed misgivings about Trump’s campaign for months.
When Trump proposed indefinitely banning Muslims from the United States in December, Ryan responded that such a move is “not who we are as a party” and in violation of the Constitution.
“This is not conservatism,” he said then, adding, “Some of our best and biggest allies in this struggle and fight against radical Islam terror are Muslims.”
In March, Ryan slammed Trump’s refusal to disavow the support of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke in an interview with Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“If a person wants to be the nominee of the Republican Party, there can be no evasion and no games. They must reject any group or cause that is built on bigotry. This party does not prey on people’s prejudices,” Ryan told reporters on Capitol Hill.
Later that month, he called the violent skirmishes that had broken out at Trump’s rallies “very concerning” and said that candidates must “take responsibility for the environment at their rallies.”
When Trump warned that there’d be “riots” at the GOP convention if he were denied the party’s nomination, Ryan was sharply critical, saying that “nobody should say such things in my opinion because to even address or hint at violence is unacceptable.”
But as recently as last week, Ryan was downplaying his rift with Trump. He’d encouraged Republicans to attend the party’s convention in Cleveland, and said he’d had a “very pleasant conversation” with Trump.
“I feel like we will be able to unify Republicans and conservatives to offer the country this fall,” Ryan told CNN, “a very clear and compelling choice so that the people of this nation get to decide where we go as a country.”

A third-party candidate?

Conservative blogger and #NeverTrump movement leader Erick Erickson told CNN he and other Trump opponents are searching for a candidate who could mount a third-party bid against Trump and Clinton.
“Donald Trump cannot consolidate the Republican base and many Republicans cannot accept a Hillary Clinton donor as the Republican nominee,” Erickson said. “If the delegates ratify this madness in Cleveland, many of us will look elsewhere for a credible candidate to oppose both Trump and Clinton.”
Freshman Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse has emerged as a central figure in the movement to oppose Trump. He argued for a third-party candidate in a Facebook post early Thursday morning.
“Why shouldn’t America draft an honest leader who will focus on 70% solutions for the next four years?” Sasse wrote. “You know … an adult?”

CNN’s Dana Bash, Gloria Borger, Sara Murray and Jamie Gangel contributed to this report.

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Paul Ryan: 'I'm just not ready' to back Donald Trump – CNN

Story highlights

  • Ryan’s comments make him the highest-level GOP official to reject Trump since he became the presumptive nominee
  • The House speaker said, “I’m just not ready to do that at this point” when asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper
“I’m just not ready to do that at this point. I’m not there right now,” the Wisconsin Republican told CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper” in an interview.
Ryan’s position makes him the highest-level GOP official to reject Trump since the real estate mogul became the last candidate standing in the party’s nominating contest. His move gives down-ballot Republicans cover to hold off on supporting Trump. It could also keep his agenda in the House from being overtaken by Trump’s policy positions.
Ryan said he hopes to eventually back Trump and “to be a part of this unifying process.” The first moves, though, must come from Trump, he said.
Ryan said he wants Trump to unify “all wings of the Republican Party and the conservative movement” and then run a campaign that will allow Americans to “have something that they’re proud to support and proud to be a part of.”
“And we’ve got a ways to go from here to there,” Ryan said.
Asked whether Trump’s proposed Muslim ban, his opposition to free trade and his call to deport 12 million undocumented immigrants would preclude him from ever supporting Trump, Ryan said: “We got work to do.”
Trump responded to Ryan late Thursday afternoon, saying in a statement that “I am not ready to support Speaker Ryan’s agenda. Perhaps in the future we can work together and come to an agreement about what is best for the American people. They have been treated so badly for so long that it is about time for politicians to put them first!”
Trump didn’t address Ryan’s comments at a campaign event Thursday night in Charleston, West Virginia. But speaking to reporters at the event, Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, dismissed the idea that the remarks are a slap in the face to the presumptive nominee coming from the leader of the Republican Party.
Lewandowski then pointed to onstage to Trump.
“That’s the leader of the Republican Party,” Lewandowski said, adding that it’s too early to say where Trump and Ryan might find common ground in terms of their political agenda.
Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room” Thursday that RNC chair Reince Priebus “connected” Ryan and Trump for a potential meeting and that his understanding is that “it’s going to happen.”
Spicer, however, did not provide further details about the potential meeting, such as when it would happen and where. Spicer added that Priebus was unaware of Ryan’s plan to appear on “The Lead.”
Lewandowski said no meeting has been set with Ryan. Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Ryan, tweeted “happy to attend” when he learned of Spicer’s comments.
Earlier Thursday, CNN reached out to 16 Republican elected officials, leaders and major fundraisers associated with former President Ronald Reagan, both Presidents Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney. Speaking on background, the Republicans, like Ryan, said they were not yet ready to support Trump. Because of this, they said they were not planning to go to the convention, though they won’t vote for Clinton.
After Ryan’s announcement, however, several said they were thrilled at the House speaker’s position.

Striking comments from Ryan

Ryan’s comments were striking because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday night that he’d back Trump.
Neither of the last two Republican presidents — George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush — will attend the GOP convention in Cleveland. Nor will the 2008 nominee, John McCain, or the 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney.
The House speaker said he’d only started considering whether he’d support Trump after the real estate mogul won Indiana’s primary Tuesday — knocking both Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich out of the race and ending the possibility of a contested convention.
“I thought about this two days ago. I thought, actually, this thing was going to go to June 7 at the very least — probably to a convention — and so this is all pretty new for us,” he said.
“The bulk of the burden on unifying the party will have to come from our presumptive nominee,” Ryan said. “I don’t want to underplay what he accomplished. … But he also inherits something very special, that’s very special to a lot of us. This is the party of Lincoln and Reagan and Jack Kemp. And we don’t always nominate a Lincoln or a Reagan every four years, but we hope that our nominee aspires to be Lincoln- or Reagan-esque — that that person advances the principles of our party and appeals to a wide, vast majority of Americans.”
He continued: “And so, I think what is necessary to make this work, 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 all 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 to unify this party.”

Decision came ‘very fast’

Ryan’s decision to oppose Trump, at least for now, came “very fast,” a source familiar with Ryan’s thinking told CNN, adding that the speaker “truly was not prepared for this. He really did not expect Cruz to drop out. He was prepared for a contested convention. And when this happened, he just decided to go with his gut — which was to hold off.”
His comments about Trump quickly became a political football, with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign highlighting the speaker as part of a “growing list of conservatives rebuking Trump” in an email.
A Republican strategist involved in Senate races told CNN that he’s worried Ryan has set up a situation that will be difficult for him to eventually get out of.
“What are the conditions by which Ryan will ever endorse? I don’t know how this ends,” the strategist said. “What would make him get to a yes on Trump? I’m not sure what Trump can do, other than change his positions.”
The strategist added, “It helps people by giving them cover. On the other hand, if you think of all the people who have already gone out of their way to endorse Trump, they’re asking themselves, ‘I have already jumped into the pool, where is Ryan?'”
A friend of Ryan’s said Thursday’s announcement was “totally Paul being torn by his own conscience. He couldn’t just say, ‘Everything I believe in doesn’t matter.'”
Ryan’s remarks provide some cover for reluctant Republicans, especially for those running for reelection in blue states, the friend added.
The friend said Ryan could eventually shift — but “the ball is now in (Trump’s) court.”
“Let’s see what he does with it,” the friend said.

A frequent critic

Ryan has expressed misgivings about Trump’s campaign for months.
When Trump proposed indefinitely banning Muslims from the United States in December, Ryan responded that such a move is “not who we are as a party” and in violation of the Constitution.
“This is not conservatism,” he said then, adding, “Some of our best and biggest allies in this struggle and fight against radical Islam terror are Muslims.”
In March, Ryan slammed Trump’s refusal to disavow the support of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke in an interview with Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“If a person wants to be the nominee of the Republican Party, there can be no evasion and no games. They must reject any group or cause that is built on bigotry. This party does not prey on people’s prejudices,” Ryan told reporters on Capitol Hill.
Later that month, he called the violent skirmishes that had broken out at Trump’s rallies “very concerning” and said that candidates must “take responsibility for the environment at their rallies.”
When Trump warned that there’d be “riots” at the GOP convention if he were denied the party’s nomination, Ryan was sharply critical, saying that “nobody should say such things in my opinion because to even address or hint at violence is unacceptable.”
But as recently as last week, Ryan was downplaying his rift with Trump. He’d encouraged Republicans to attend the party’s convention in Cleveland, and said he’d had a “very pleasant conversation” with Trump.
“I feel like we will be able to unify Republicans and conservatives to offer the country this fall,” Ryan told CNN, “a very clear and compelling choice so that the people of this nation get to decide where we go as a country.”

A third-party candidate?

Conservative blogger and #NeverTrump movement leader Erick Erickson told CNN he and other Trump opponents are searching for a candidate who could mount a third-party bid against Trump and Clinton.
“Donald Trump cannot consolidate the Republican base and many Republicans cannot accept a Hillary Clinton donor as the Republican nominee,” Erickson said. “If the delegates ratify this madness in Cleveland, many of us will look elsewhere for a credible candidate to oppose both Trump and Clinton.”
Freshman Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse has emerged as a central figure in the movement to oppose Trump. He argued for a third-party candidate in a Facebook post early Thursday morning.
“Why shouldn’t America draft an honest leader who will focus on 70% solutions for the next four years?” Sasse wrote. “You know … an adult?”

CNN’s Dana Bash, Gloria Borger, Sara Murray and Jamie Gangel contributed to this report.

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Ryan says he is 'not ready' to back Trump, deepening GOP divide – Washington Post

By , and ,

In an extraordinary rebuke of the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.), the nation’s highest-ranking GOP official, said Thursday that he could not support Donald Trump until he changes his tone and demonstrates that he shares the party’s values.

While acknowledging that Trump has mobilized a powerful grass-roots movement and earned the nomination, Ryan said that Trump has not shown himself to be “a standard-bearer who bears our standard” — and he put the onus on the business mogul to recalibrate his campaign and offer a more inclusive vision.

Asked by CNN anchor Jake Tapper whether he backs Trump, Ryan responded: “I’m just not ready to do that at this point. I’m not there right now. And I hope to, though, and I want to. But I think what is required is that we unify the party. And I think the bulk of the burden on unifying the party will have to come from our presumptive nominee.”

“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,” Ryan said, adding that he hopes the candidate “advances the principles of our party and appeals to a wide, vast majority of Americans.”

Ryan’s comments, which came as a surprise to some close allies, deepened the divide in a party now facing a painful reckoning about Trump. The GOP’s only two living presidents — George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush — said they would not endorse him, while its past two nominees — Mitt Romney and John McCain — said they did not plan to attend Trump’s nominating convention this summer in Cleveland. McCain, however, said he would support Trump and has offered to counsel him on foreign policy.

[Donald trump takes the reins of a divided Republican Party]

Trump was defiant in his response to Ryan, offering a firm defense of his candidacy and asserting that he has a mandate from Republican voters. In a notable departure from his handling of previous feuds, Trump did not insult Ryan personally.

“I am not ready to support Speaker Ryan’s agenda,” Trump said in a statement. “Perhaps in the future we can work together and come to an agreement about what is best for the American people. They have been treated so badly for so long that it is about time for politicians to put them first!”

Ryan’s remarks broke a previous pledge to support whoever becomes the GOP nominee. It also puts him at odds with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who offered tempered support for Trump on Wednesday, and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, a Ryan friend who has urged Republicans to unite behind Trump.

Priebus is trying to broker a Trump and Ryan meeting next week. Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck tweeted that the speaker would be “happy to attend.”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), a Trump supporter and adviser, told reporters in Trenton that he would reach out to Ryan to discuss his concerns.

Other Republicans are swiftly coming around on Trump. Former Texas governor Rick Perry, who delivered the first vicious takedown of Trump last summer, told CNN that he now supports him and is open to being his running mate. Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, whose family helped bankroll an anti-Trump super PAC, plans to endorse Trump on Friday at a rally in Omaha.

The tensions between Trump and Ryan go beyond temperament. They have philosophical differences about the size and scope of government. Ryan champions free-trade agreements, international military engagement, and sweeping overhauls of Social Security and Medicare, whereas Trump is an avowed opponent of recent trade deals, foreign interventions and proposed changes to entitlement programs.

[Paul Ryan tries to pivot from disheartened state of politics]

Furthermore, Ryan frames his politics in stark moral terms, while Trump’s manner was forged by his experiences in the Manhattan business and tabloid wars of the 1980s.

“It’s time to go from tapping anger to channeling that anger into solutions,” Ryan said. “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.”

Ryan said that no Republican should consider supporting likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, but he did not spell out what he would do if he could not get around to backing Trump. Ryan’s indecision comes as some conservatives, including freshman Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), are trying to draft an independent, third-party candidate.

“It’s a moment of moral clarity,” said Peter Wehner, a center-right commentator and senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. “If Trump is smart, he’ll take this message to heart and figure out that he doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning if he doesn’t unify the fractured party.”

Trump is expected to visit Washington next week to meet with lawmakers. But there are no plans for Trump to address the full House Republican Conference — a departure from tradition for both parties, in which the presumptive nominees trek to Capitol Hill to meet with their respective cau­cuses in meetings hosted by the congressional leadership.

Aides to McConnell declined Thursday to say whether any such meeting with Trump would occur among Senate Republicans.

Trump’s supporters in Congress shrugged off Ryan. “Republicans, we have to listen to the voters’ voices,” said Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.). “Everyone will come at their own time. We’re not pressuring anyone, just welcoming.”

Polling shows Trump is deeply unpopular with wide swaths of the electorate — especially women, young people, Latinos and African Americans — and Republicans are fearful that November could be a bloodbath that jeopardizes their Senate and House majorities.

[Trump would be least popular major party nominee in modern times]

In part because of his role as chairman of the Republican National Convention, Ryan has refrained from criticizing Trump too directly. But he has made no secret of his disdain for him. He has given a series of speeches outlining a distinct policy agenda and message as a sort of road map for embattled GOP lawmakers who may seek to differentiate their candidacies from Trump.

Ryan’s comments Thursday offer a new way for like-minded Republicans to address Trump’s pending nomination.

“There has been growing anxiety among members in purple and blue districts, marginal seats,” said Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.), a Ryan ally. “Paul truly believes what he’s saying. . . . It’s personal and sincere. But there is a political equation to all this. He knows what the feeling is inside of the House as much as anyone.”

Ryan shocked some leading Republicans, who expected he would dutifully line up behind the presumptive nominee. William J. Bennett, a former Reagan administration official and a mentor to Ryan, said he was “knocked out of my chair” as he watched Ryan on CNN.

“This is a slap at the people,” Bennett said. “He thinks he can nudge Trump in a certain direction, but it doesn’t make sense to expect Trump to have some kind of personality transformation. His approach was not conducive to unification, which is what the party needs.”

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, a Trump defender, said the GOP is undergoing “a natural process” but was critical of Ryan.

“Ryan has to bring together a House GOP in which more and more members will support Trump,” Gingrich said. “McConnell and McCain have been far better leaders in trying to bring the party together.”

Ryan made his decision about Trump on Wednesday, according to a senior House leadership aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak freely about Ryan’s internal deliberations.

It’s unclear if the speaker ever will fully embrace Trump, but Ryan still plans to oversee the convention as co-chairman, a largely ceremonial role. He does not plan to deliver a formal speech in Cleveland and expects to focus fully on campaigning for House Republicans, the aide said.

“Ryan is a conviction politician,” said Wehner, an ally. “He’s not a Republican first and foremost and only. Ryan is somebody who has a set of convictions and whose philosophical beliefs transcend even the party beliefs, and that’s not true for everybody else.”

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Ryan says he is 'not ready' to back Trump, deepening GOP divide – Washington Post

By , and ,

In an extraordinary rebuke of the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.), the nation’s highest-ranking GOP official, said Thursday that he could not support Donald Trump until he changes his tone and demonstrates that he shares the party’s values.

While acknowledging that Trump has mobilized a powerful grass-roots movement and earned the nomination, Ryan said that Trump has not shown himself to be “a standard-bearer who bears our standard” — and he put the onus on the business mogul to recalibrate his campaign and offer a more inclusive vision.

Asked by CNN anchor Jake Tapper whether he backs Trump, Ryan responded: “I’m just not ready to do that at this point. I’m not there right now. And I hope to, though, and I want to. But I think what is required is that we unify the party. And I think the bulk of the burden on unifying the party will have to come from our presumptive nominee.”

“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,” Ryan said, adding that he hopes the candidate “advances the principles of our party and appeals to a wide, vast majority of Americans.”

Ryan’s comments, which came as a surprise to some close allies, deepened the divide in a party now facing a painful reckoning about Trump. The GOP’s only two living presidents — George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush — said they would not endorse him, while its past two nominees — Mitt Romney and John McCain — said they did not plan to attend Trump’s nominating convention this summer in Cleveland. McCain, however, said he would support Trump and has offered to counsel him on foreign policy.

[Donald trump takes the reins of a divided Republican Party]

Trump was defiant in his response to Ryan, offering a firm defense of his candidacy and asserting that he has a mandate from Republican voters. In a notable departure from his handling of previous feuds, Trump did not insult Ryan personally.

“I am not ready to support Speaker Ryan’s agenda,” Trump said in a statement. “Perhaps in the future we can work together and come to an agreement about what is best for the American people. They have been treated so badly for so long that it is about time for politicians to put them first!”

Ryan’s remarks broke a previous pledge to support whoever becomes the GOP nominee. It also puts him at odds with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who offered tempered support for Trump on Wednesday, and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, a Ryan friend who has urged Republicans to unite behind Trump.

Priebus is trying to broker a Trump and Ryan meeting next week. Ryan spokesman Brendan Buck tweeted that the speaker would be “happy to attend.”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), a Trump supporter and adviser, told reporters in Trenton that he would reach out to Ryan to discuss his concerns.

Other Republicans are swiftly coming around on Trump. Former Texas governor Rick Perry, who delivered the first vicious takedown of Trump last summer, told CNN that he now supports him and is open to being his running mate. Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, whose family helped bankroll an anti-Trump super PAC, plans to endorse Trump on Friday at a rally in Omaha.

The tensions between Trump and Ryan go beyond temperament. They have philosophical differences about the size and scope of government. Ryan champions free-trade agreements, international military engagement, and sweeping overhauls of Social Security and Medicare, whereas Trump is an avowed opponent of recent trade deals, foreign interventions and proposed changes to entitlement programs.

[Paul Ryan tries to pivot from disheartened state of politics]

Furthermore, Ryan frames his politics in stark moral terms, while Trump’s manner was forged by his experiences in the Manhattan business and tabloid wars of the 1980s.

“It’s time to go from tapping anger to channeling that anger into solutions,” Ryan said. “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.”

Ryan said that no Republican should consider supporting likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, but he did not spell out what he would do if he could not get around to backing Trump. Ryan’s indecision comes as some conservatives, including freshman Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), are trying to draft an independent, third-party candidate.

“It’s a moment of moral clarity,” said Peter Wehner, a center-right commentator and senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. “If Trump is smart, he’ll take this message to heart and figure out that he doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning if he doesn’t unify the fractured party.”

Trump is expected to visit Washington next week to meet with lawmakers. But there are no plans for Trump to address the full House Republican Conference — a departure from tradition for both parties, in which the presumptive nominees trek to Capitol Hill to meet with their respective cau­cuses in meetings hosted by the congressional leadership.

Aides to McConnell declined Thursday to say whether any such meeting with Trump would occur among Senate Republicans.

Trump’s supporters in Congress shrugged off Ryan. “Republicans, we have to listen to the voters’ voices,” said Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.). “Everyone will come at their own time. We’re not pressuring anyone, just welcoming.”

Polling shows Trump is deeply unpopular with wide swaths of the electorate — especially women, young people, Latinos and African Americans — and Republicans are fearful that November could be a bloodbath that jeopardizes their Senate and House majorities.

[Trump would be least popular major party nominee in modern times]

In part because of his role as chairman of the Republican National Convention, Ryan has refrained from criticizing Trump too directly. But he has made no secret of his disdain for him. He has given a series of speeches outlining a distinct policy agenda and message as a sort of road map for embattled GOP lawmakers who may seek to differentiate their candidacies from Trump.

Ryan’s comments Thursday offer a new way for like-minded Republicans to address Trump’s pending nomination.

“There has been growing anxiety among members in purple and blue districts, marginal seats,” said Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.), a Ryan ally. “Paul truly believes what he’s saying. . . . It’s personal and sincere. But there is a political equation to all this. He knows what the feeling is inside of the House as much as anyone.”

Ryan shocked some leading Republicans, who expected he would dutifully line up behind the presumptive nominee. William J. Bennett, a former Reagan administration official and a mentor to Ryan, said he was “knocked out of my chair” as he watched Ryan on CNN.

“This is a slap at the people,” Bennett said. “He thinks he can nudge Trump in a certain direction, but it doesn’t make sense to expect Trump to have some kind of personality transformation. His approach was not conducive to unification, which is what the party needs.”

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, a Trump defender, said the GOP is undergoing “a natural process” but was critical of Ryan.

“Ryan has to bring together a House GOP in which more and more members will support Trump,” Gingrich said. “McConnell and McCain have been far better leaders in trying to bring the party together.”

Ryan made his decision about Trump on Wednesday, according to a senior House leadership aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak freely about Ryan’s internal deliberations.

It’s unclear if the speaker ever will fully embrace Trump, but Ryan still plans to oversee the convention as co-chairman, a largely ceremonial role. He does not plan to deliver a formal speech in Cleveland and expects to focus fully on campaigning for House Republicans, the aide said.

“Ryan is a conviction politician,” said Wehner, an ally. “He’s not a Republican first and foremost and only. Ryan is somebody who has a set of convictions and whose philosophical beliefs transcend even the party beliefs, and that’s not true for everybody else.”

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Paul Ryan: 'I'm just not ready' to back Donald Trump – CNN

Story highlights

  • Ryan’s comments make him the highest-level GOP official to reject Donald Trump since he became the presumptive nominee
  • The House Speaker said, “I’m just not ready to do that at this point” when asked about it by CNN’s Jake Tapper
“I’m just not ready to do that at this point. I’m not there right now,” the Wisconsin Republican told CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper” in an interview.
Ryan’s position makes him the highest-level GOP official to reject Trump since the real estate mogul became the last candidate standing in the party’s nominating contest.
He said he hopes to eventually back Trump and “to be a part of this unifying process.” The first moves, though, must come from Trump, he said.
Ryan said he wants Trump to unify “all wings of the Republican Party and the conservative movement” and then run a campaign that will allow Americans to “have something that they’re proud to support and proud to be a part of.”
“And we’ve got a ways to go from here to there,” Ryan said.
Asked whether Trump’s proposed Muslim ban, his opposition to free trade and his call to deport 12 million undocumented immigrants would preclude him from ever supporting Trump, Ryan said: “We got work to do.”
Ryan’s comments were striking because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday night that he’d back Trump.
Neither of the last two Republican presidents — George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush — will attend the GOP convention in Cleveland. Nor will the 2008 nominee, John McCain, or the 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney.
The House speaker said he’d only started considering whether he’d support Trump after the real estate mogul won Indiana’s primary Tuesday — knocking both Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich out of the race and ending the possibility of a contested convention.
“I thought about this two days ago. I thought, actually, this thing was going to go to June 7 at the very least — probably to a convention — and so this is all pretty new for us,” he said.
“The bulk of the burden on unifying the party will have to come from our presumptive nominee,” Ryan said. “I don’t want to underplay what he accomplished. … But he also inherits something very special, that’s very special to a lot of us. This is the party of Lincoln and Reagan and Jack Kemp. And we don’t always nominate a Lincoln or a Reagan every four years, but we hope that our nominee aspires to be Lincoln- or Reagan-esque — that that person advances the principles of our party and appeals to a wide, vast majority of Americans.”
He continued: “And so, I think what is necessary to make this work, 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 all 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 to unify this party.”
Ryan has expressed misgivings about Trump’s campaign for months.
When Trump proposed indefinitely banning Muslims from the United States in December, Ryan responded that such a move is “not who we are as a party” and in violation of the Constitution.
“This is not conservatism,” he said then, adding, “Some of our best and biggest allies in this struggle and fight against radical Islam terror are Muslims.”

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Paul Ryan: 'I'm just not ready' to back Donald Trump – CNN

Story highlights

  • Ryan’s comments make him the highest-level GOP official to reject Trump since he became the presumptive nominee
  • The House speaker said, “I’m just not ready to do that at this point” when asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper
“I’m just not ready to do that at this point. I’m not there right now,” the Wisconsin Republican told CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper” in an interview.
Ryan’s position makes him the highest-level GOP official to reject Trump since the real estate mogul became the last candidate standing in the party’s nominating contest. His move gives down-ballot Republicans cover to hold off on supporting Trump. It could also keep his agenda in the House from being overtaken by Trump’s policy positions.
Ryan said he hopes to eventually back Trump and “to be a part of this unifying process.” The first moves, though, must come from Trump, he said.
Ryan said he wants Trump to unify “all wings of the Republican Party and the conservative movement” and then run a campaign that will allow Americans to “have something that they’re proud to support and proud to be a part of.”
“And we’ve got a ways to go from here to there,” Ryan said.
Asked whether Trump’s proposed Muslim ban, his opposition to free trade and his call to deport 12 million undocumented immigrants would preclude him from ever supporting Trump, Ryan said: “We got work to do.”
Trump responded to Ryan late Thursday afternoon, saying in a statement that “I am not ready to support Speaker Ryan’s agenda. Perhaps in the future we can work together and come to an agreement about what is best for the American people. They have been treated so badly for so long that it is about time for politicians to put them first!”
Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room” Thursday that RNC chair Reince Priebus “connected” Ryan and Trump for a potential meeting and that his understanding is that “it’s going to happen.”
Spicer, however, did not provide further details about the meeting, such as when it would happen and where. Spicer added that Priebus was unaware of Ryan’s plan to appear on “The Lead.”
Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Ryan, tweeted “happy to attend” when he learned of Spicer’s comments.
Ryan’s comments were striking because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday night that he’d back Trump.
Neither of the last two Republican presidents — George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush — will attend the GOP convention in Cleveland. Nor will the 2008 nominee, John McCain, or the 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney.
The House speaker said he’d only started considering whether he’d support Trump after the real estate mogul won Indiana’s primary Tuesday — knocking both Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich out of the race and ending the possibility of a contested convention.
“I thought about this two days ago. I thought, actually, this thing was going to go to June 7 at the very least — probably to a convention — and so this is all pretty new for us,” he said.
“The bulk of the burden on unifying the party will have to come from our presumptive nominee,” Ryan said. “I don’t want to underplay what he accomplished. … But he also inherits something very special, that’s very special to a lot of us. This is the party of Lincoln and Reagan and Jack Kemp. And we don’t always nominate a Lincoln or a Reagan every four years, but we hope that our nominee aspires to be Lincoln- or Reagan-esque — that that person advances the principles of our party and appeals to a wide, vast majority of Americans.”
He continued: “And so, I think what is necessary to make this work, 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 all 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 to unify this party.”

Decision came ‘very fast’

Ryan’s decision to oppose Trump, at least for now, came “very fast,” a source familiar with Ryan’s thinking told CNN, adding that the speaker “truly was not prepared for this. He really did not expect Cruz to drop out. He was prepared for a contested convention. And when this happened, he just decided to go with his gut — which was to hold off.”
His comments about Trump quickly became a political football, with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign highlighting the speaker as part of a “growing list of conservatives rebuking Trump” in an email.
A Republican strategist involved in Senate races told CNN that he’s worried Ryan has set up a situation that will be difficult for him to eventually get out of.
“What are the conditions by which Ryan will ever endorse? I don’t know how this ends,” the strategist said. “What would make him get to a yes on Trump? I’m not sure what Trump can do, other than change his positions.”
The strategist added, “It helps people by giving them cover. On the other hand, if you think of all the people who have already gone out of their way to endorse Trump, they’re asking themselves, ‘I have already jumped into the pool, where is Ryan?'”
A friend of Ryan’s said Thursday’s announcement was “totally Paul being torn by his own conscience. He couldn’t just say, ‘Everything I believe in doesn’t matter.'”
Ryan’s remarks provide some cover for reluctant Republicans, especially for those running for reelection in blue states, the friend added.
The friend said Ryan could eventually shift — but “the ball is now in (Trump’s) court.”
“Let’s see what he does with it,” the friend said.

A frequent critic

Ryan has expressed misgivings about Trump’s campaign for months.
When Trump proposed indefinitely banning Muslims from the United States in December, Ryan responded that such a move is “not who we are as a party” and in violation of the Constitution.
“This is not conservatism,” he said then, adding, “Some of our best and biggest allies in this struggle and fight against radical Islam terror are Muslims.”
In March, Ryan slammed Trump’s refusal to disavow the support of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke in an interview with Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“If a person wants to be the nominee of the Republican Party, there can be no evasion and no games. They must reject any group or cause that is built on bigotry. This party does not prey on people’s prejudices,” Ryan told reporters on Capitol Hill.
Later that month, he called the violent skirmishes that had broken out at Trump’s rallies “very concerning” and said that candidates must “take responsibility for the environment at their rallies.”
When Trump warned that there’d be “riots” at the GOP convention if he were denied the party’s nomination, Ryan was sharply critical, saying that “nobody should say such things in my opinion because to even address or hint at violence is unacceptable.”
But as recently as last week, Ryan was downplaying his rift with Trump. He’d encouraged Republicans to attend the party’s convention in Cleveland, and said he’d had a “very pleasant conversation” with Trump.
“I feel like we will be able to unify Republicans and conservatives to offer the country this fall,” Ryan told CNN, “a very clear and compelling choice so that the people of this nation get to decide where we go as a country.”

A third-party candidate?

Conservative blogger and #NeverTrump movement leader Erick Erickson told CNN he and other Trump opponents are searching for a candidate who could mount a third-party bid against Trump and Clinton.
“Donald Trump cannot consolidate the Republican base and many Republicans cannot accept a Hillary Clinton donor as the Republican nominee,” Erickson said. “If the delegates ratify this madness in Cleveland, many of us will look elsewhere for a credible candidate to oppose both Trump and Clinton.”
Freshman Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse has emerged as a central figure in the movement to oppose Trump. He argued for a third-party candidate in a Facebook post early Thursday morning.
“Why shouldn’t America draft an honest leader who will focus on 70% solutions for the next four years?” Sasse wrote. “You know … an adult?”

CNN’s Dana Bash and Gloria Borger contributed to this report.

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