Trump, Ryan, pledge to work together, see end to rift in GOP
Trump has alarmed the Republican establishment with proposals including deporting millions of immigrants and barring Muslims from the country
Straining to mend their party after months of chaos, Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan declared themselves “totally committed” to working together after a fence-mending personal meeting on Thursday. Ryan praised Trump as “very warm and genuine,” and suggested that after initial hesitance he may well end up endorsing the GOP candidate for president.
“We will have policy disputes. There is no two ways about that. The question is, can we unify on the common core principles that make our party?” Ryan said. “And I’m very encouraged that the answer to that question is yes.”
Trump, who used the day to launch a robust charm offensive with members of Congress, broadcast his own enthusiasm, on Twitter and on TV. “I really think we had a great meeting today, and I think we agree on a lot of things and it’ll be a little process but it’ll come along. I’m pretty sure,” he said in an interview recorded for Fox News Channel’s “Hannity.”
The surprisingly fervent show of unity capped a remarkable week that began with Ryan, the GOP’s top elected office-holder and its 2012 vice presidential nominee, turning his back on his party’s presumptive presidential nominee just days after Trump had effectively clinched the nomination.
Ryan said at the time he was not yet ready to back Trump, who had succeeded in insulting women, Latinos, disabled people and many conservatives in the course of a brutal primary season. He also has alarmed the Republican establishment with proposals including deporting millions of immigrants and barring Muslims from the country.
Yet in the days since, many GOP lawmakers — and voters themselves — have made peace with the reality that Trump is their candidate and therefore their only hope of defeating likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Although some in the GOP fear Trump could spell election disaster and cost Republicans control of the Senate and seats in the House, recent polls have shown a closer race, helping their comfort level.
Ryan himself insisted from the beginning that his only goal was real party unity. His allies in the House have predicted he will get behind Trump in the end, and on Thursday Ryan sounded like he was well on his way.
“We talked about what it takes to unify, where our differences were and how we can bridge these gaps going forward,” Ryan said, praising Trump’s “unparalleled” accomplishment in getting more votes already than any Republican presidential candidate in history — 10.9 million even before California and New Jersey vote in June.