Donald Trump may be the presumptive Republican nominee for president, but he does not yet have the support of the party’s highest-ranking elected official.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said in an interview on CNN Thursday afternoon that he was not ready to endorse Trump, and called on the businessman to unify the GOP and embrace “conservative principles” in order to earn his support. “To be perfectly candid, I’m not ready to do that right now,” Ryan told CNN’s Jake Tapper when he asked if he would support Trump. It was a line he repeated in various forms during the 10-minute interview.
Ryan’s unwillingness to endorse Trump is a fairly stunning turn in the presidential race, and it comes after the speaker insisted for months that because he will serve as the chairman of the Republican National Convention, he was duty-bound to support whoever the party nominated for president. He did so even as he criticized Trump’s proposals to ban Muslims from entering the United States and for his refusal to condemn the eruptions of violence at his rallies.
“I think he needs to do more to unify this party,” Ryan said on Thursday. “Saying we’re unified doesn’t in and of itself unify us.”
“It’s time to set aside bullying, set aside belittlement and appeal to higher aspirations,” he added.