House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday that he is not ready to support presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
In an appearance on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper,” Ryan said he wants to support his party’s nominee, but that he simply cannot do so just yet.
“I hope to though, and I want to,” Ryan said just after 4 p.m. ET. “But I think what is required is that we unify this party. And I think the bulk of the burden on unifying the party will have to come from our presumptive nominee.”
Ryan said Trump should be congratulated for what he has accomplished during the primaries, but noted that in becoming the face of the Republican Party, he has also inherited something that is “very special” to many people.
“This is the party of Lincoln, of Reagan, of Jack Kemp, and we don’t always nominate a Lincoln and a Reagan every four years,” he said. “But we hope that our nominee aspires to be Lincoln- and Reagan-esque — that that person advances the principles of our party and appeals to a wide, vast majority of Americans.”
Paul Ryan holds a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 17, 2016. (Photo: Gary Cameron/Reuters)
According to Ryan, the GOP presidential candidate needs to unify the party by showing dedication to Republican principles and running a campaign other Republicans can be proud of.
Trump responded late Thursday afternoon via a statement, saying he’s not ready to work with Ryan anyway.
“I am not ready to support Speaker Ryan’s agenda. Perhaps in the future we can work together and come to an agreement about what is best for the American people. They have been treated so badly for so long that it is about time for politicians to put them first!”
Tapper noted that Ryan’s announcement is “fairly dramatic” despite his hopeful wording — namely, that the speaker of the House cannot as of now support his party’s nominee for the Oval Office.
“I hope to support our nominee,” Ryan replied. “I hope to support his candidacy fully, and I want to do that, but right now — I got to tell you Jake, being candid with you — at this point, I’m just not there right now.”
On Wednesday, before Ohio Gov. John Kasich suspended his presidential campaign, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus urged members of his party to accept Trump as the GOP candidate and rally behind him.
“We all need to unite and focus on defeating Hillary Clinton,” he tweeted.