House Speaker Paul Ryan, perhaps still wondering what happened to the contested convention that was going to launch his presidential bid, said Thursday that he would have to see a different side of Donald Trump before endorsing him.
“I’m not there right now,” Ryan said in a CNN interview. “I hope to, though, and I want to. But I think what is required is that we unify the party, and I think the bulk of the burden on unifying the party will have to come from our presumptive nominee.”
Ryan, who previously said that he would support the Republican nominee regardless of who it turned out to be, told host Jake Tapper that Trump needed to prove his ideological commitment to the party’s platform.
“I think conservatives want to know: Does he share our values and our principles on limited government, the proper role of the executive, adherence to the Constitution?” he said. “There’s a lot of questions that conservatives, I think, are going to want answers to.”
Ryan’s not alone in his skepticism. Already, Republican icons such as Mitt Romney, George Bush, George W. Bush, Jeb Bush, and Bob Dole have indicated that they are unlikely to endorse the unconventional nominee. And many of the country’s top conservative personalities – including Glenn Beck, Erik Erikson, and Bill Kristol – have said they will never vote for Trump.
On the other hand, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Chris Christie, Mitch McConnell and – most surprisingly – John McCain have said they will support Trump.
“I have committed to supporting the nominee chosen by Republican voters, and Donald Trump, the presumptive nominee, is now on the verge of clinching that nomination,” said Senate Majority Leader McConnell.
McConnell and McCain were lukewarm in their endorsements, but they at least took steps toward party unification.
The next few months are going to show us something interesting. As tempting as it might be to herald these anti-Trump Republicans as brave, principled conservatives, the fact is that they are traitors. Nothing could be more devastating to this country than the election of Hillary Clinton. When these fools were fighting to keep Trump from getting the nomination because they were afraid he couldn’t win, that was one thing. Now that he’s almost certainly the guy, it’s time to get on board.
The Democrats have seized on the party’s fractures, and Hillary is going to remind America every single day that many top Republicans are ashamed of their own nominee.
Paul Ryan doesn’t have to abandon everything he believes in to support Trump. Do you think everyone who voted for Trump agrees with all of his policy positions? Of course not. This is a man who has praised Planned Parenthood, supported letting transgender men into the women’s room, and may even endorse a raise in the federal minimum wage. No one should be confused about whether or not he’s a true conservative, because he’s never claimed to be.
But the race is not going to be between Trump and Ronald Reagan. The race is going to be between Trump and Hillary Clinton. And if you don’t get behind Trump, your allegiances are clear.