WASHINGTON (TIP): Nearly a month after being named the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, Donald Trump has finally earned the vote of House Speaker Paul Ryan.
Far from a wholehearted embrace of his party’s 2016 standard-bearer’s policies and temperament, Ryan’s announcement on Thursday mainly emphasized that Trump would be a better ally to advance Ryan’s policy goals than likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
The announcement, published in a column in his home town newspaper the GazetteXtra, failed to include the word “endorsement,” instead indicating only that the Wisconsin lawmaker will cast his vote for Trump at the ballot box. Ryan wrote that he came to his decision after several conversations with Trump.
“I feel confident he would help us turn the ideas … into laws to help improve people’s lives,” he wrote.
NBC News had proclaimed Trump the presumptive nominee 29 days ago on May 4, after Trump’s final GOP rivals exited the race. But Ryan withheld his support at the time, instead publicizing his concerns with the likely nominee.
Ryan suggested then that it was up to Trump to unify the party after a primary that resulted in a nominee that many establishment Republicans did not prefer.
“I think the bulk of the burden on unifying the party will have to come from our presumptive nominee,” Ryan said last month. “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 this party.”
In the column published Thursday, Ryan did not sugarcoat his continuing disagreements with Trump.
“It’s no secret that he and I have our differences. I won’t pretend otherwise. And when I feel the need to, I’ll continue to speak my mind,” Ryan wrote. “To enact (Republican) ideas, we need a Republican president willing to sign them into law. That’s why, when he sealed the nomination, I could not offer my support for Donald Trump before discussing policies and basic principles.”
While it’s hardly a glowing recommendation, Ryan’s willingness to support Trump presents yet another obstacle to the “Stop Trump” movement as establishment Republicans are slowly lining up behind their nominee, albeit reluctantly.
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A primary reason for that unification is Republicans’ common enemy in Hillary Clinton, a fact not lost on Ryan in his announcement Thursday.
“One person who we know won’t support it is Hillary Clinton. A Clinton White House would mean four more years of liberal cronyism and a government more out for itself than the people it serves. Quite simply, she represents all that our agenda aims to fix,” Ryan wrote.
Ryan was slow to the Trump train after expressing concerns over some of Trump’s comments and positions. The two met twice in May, after Trump was deemed the presumptive nominee, but an endorsement wasn’t immediate after the meetings.
Trump said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on May 8 that he was “blindsided” by Ryan’s lack of an endorsement.
“But (I) have a nice relationship with him. And then all of a sudden, he gets on and he does this number. So I’m not exactly sure what he has in mind. But that’s okay,” Trump added.
In Ryan’s column Thursday, he said Trump can “help us” move forward on their policy domestic and foreign policy priories.
“As I said from the start, my goal has been to unite the party so we can win in the fall. And if we’re going to unite, it has to be over ideas,” Ryan said, seeming to get behind him for the sake of the party and not his satisfaction with the person.