Paul Ryan not ready to endorse Donald Trump
House Speaker Paul Ryan is tamping down speculation he plans to imminently endorse Donald Trump, revealing that his senior aides are in touch daily with the presumptive nominee’s staff in an effort to find common ground on bedrock GOP issues.
Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill, Ryan would not say if he is moving any closer to backing his party’s standard bearer, despite having “productive talks” with his campaign.
“I don’t know where all this is coming from,” Ryan said at a briefing over his conference’s election-year agenda. “I haven’t made a decision. … and nothing’s changed my perspective. We’re still having productive conversations.”
Ryan’s said that the Trump campaign is being briefed on the House GOP election-year agenda focusing on big policy ideas that Republicans largely agree on, including repealing Obamacare and overhauling federal regulations. Ryan and senior GOP leaders hope that the discussions will help Trump align his views more closely to Republicans on Capitol Hill.
“This is an agenda for the next president,” Ryan said of the House Republican effort.
But he said the agenda won’t touch hot-button issues that Ryan and Trump disagree on, including deporting millions of undocumented immigrants — a centerpiece of Trump’s campaign.
“That’s not in our agenda project,” Ryan said, adding that the GOP is a “big tent party.”
Asked why not just endorse Trump now, Ryan said he wanted to have a “sincere deliberative process” to discuss common GOP principles.
“I have no timeline on my mind,” Ryan said.
Still, Ryan refused to criticize Trump and his controversial comments, including about Hispanics, women and prisoners of war.
“I’m not going to litigate this stuff. I’m focusing on what we can control here in the House.”
But he did offer support for New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, who has been caught in a war of words with Trump, defending her record on budget issues.
“Susana Martinez is a good governor,” Ryan said. “I’ll leave it at that.”
Earlier in the day, Ryan released a short video Wednesday that denounces “bitterness in our politics” including within his own party and urges “solutions” instead of “anxiety,” which fanned speculation about his relationship to the GOP front-runner.
“I’ve not seen the kind of bitterness in our politics like we have today. And I’ve got to say, I think it’s both sides. It’s not — you know, I’d love to say it’s just Democrats, but it’s not — it’s both. And it doesn’t have to be that way,” Ryan says in the video, which contains clips from a town hall he held with Georgetown students.