Millions of Americans appear to have made up their minds about Donald Trump, whether they dislike his brand of politics or want him in the White House. Now, after meeting with Trump Thursday, the highest-ranking elected Republican in the country looks closer to making up his own.
“I was very encouraged with what I heard from Donald Trump today. I do believe that we are now planting the seeds to get ourselves unified, to bridge the gaps and differences,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan at his weekly press conference, after their confab at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C. He soon added: “But this is a process. It takes a little time. You don’t put it together in 45 minutes.”
Ryan and Trump may not have been able to join forces during the meeting on Thursday, but their union now seems all but inevitable. When reporters gave Ryan an opening to endorse Trump, he demurred, but gave no indication he was entertaining the notion of rejecting Trump as the nominee.
Indeed, in recent days, it’s grown increasingly difficult to see Ryan not support Trump. He’s insisted that the party’s success in November hinges on unifying, and mending fences that have splintered in an ugly primary season. Though he has yet to endorse, plenty of his colleagues and fellow Republicans have, even if some have done so begrudgingly. The Washington Post reported this week that Ryan would face pushback from some in his conference if he’s still wavering post-meeting. “[T]he problem I would see with [an extended Trump-Ryan split] would be a lot of members of the conference would be obviously fractured—further fractured than we already are,” said North Dakota Representative Kevin Cramer, who’s backing Trump. Based on Ryan’s reaction to the morning’s events, it seems his pro-Trump colleagues should feel encouraged.