Ahead of his hyped meeting this week with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, House Speaker [crscore]Paul Ryan[/crscore] suggested he would eventually support the New York businessman, saying: “We just need to get to know each other.”
“I don’t really know him,” Ryan said at a Capitol news conference. “I met him once in person in 2012, we had a very good conversation in March on the phone. We just need to get to know each other.”
Last week, after Trump became the presumptive nominee, Ryan said he wasn’t ready to support him. Following that statement, a meeting was arranged between Ryan and Trump for Thursday. The candidate will also meet with the Republican leadership in both the House and Senate.
Speaking to reporters, Ryan declined to say what he wants to hear from Trump before saying he supports him.
“We, as a leadership team, are enjoying the fact that we have a chance to meet with him,” Ryan said. “So I’d rather have a conversation in person rather than through the media, no offense.”
“What we’re trying to do is be constructive as possible by having real unification,” he said. “Look, I said this the other day. To pretend we’re unified as a party, after coming through a very bruising primary, which just ended like a week ago, to pretend we’re unified without actually unifying then we go into the fall at half strength. This election is too important to go into an election at half strength.”
Added Ryan: “That means we need a real unification of our party. Which, look, after a tough primary, that’s going to take some effort. We’re committed to putting that effort in. I want to be a part of that unifying process so that we’re at full strength this fall, so that we can win this election.”
Ryan said: “We cannot afford to lose this election to Hillary Clinton, to pack the supreme court, to keep the liberal Obama agenda going. We have to be at full strength so we can win this election and that is why we have to go through the actual effort and process of unifying.”
“This is a big tent party,” he added. “There is plenty of room for different policy disputes in this party. We come from different wings of the party. The goal is to unify the various wings of the party around common principles so we can go forward and unify.”
Last week, after Ryan’s refusal to endorse, Trump said in a statement: “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!”