Politics

Donald Trump And Paul Ryan Meet

Alex Pappas Political Reporter

WASHINGTON — The two leaders of the Republican party — House speaker [crscore]Paul Ryan[/crscore] and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump — met for a summit Thursday on Capitol Hill, a week after Ryan said he wasn’t ready to support Trump yet.

Trump and Ryan gathered Thursday morning at the Republican National Committee’s headquarters along with RNC chairman Reince Priebus. Protestors, spectators and journalists awaited the arrival of Trump, whose motorcade dropped him off at a side entrance.

In his weekly press conference after the meeting, Ryan repeatedly said he was “encouraged” by what heard from Trump. But Ryan still didn’t offer an endorsement.

“The process of unifying the Republican Party — which we just finished our primary about a week ago, perhaps one of the most divisive primaries in memory — takes some time,” he said.

 

“It’s very important that we don’t fake unifying—we don’t pretend unification,” Ryan added. “That we truly, actually unify so we are full strength in the fall.”

Ryan and Trump also released a joint statement after the meeting:

The United States cannot afford another four years of the Obama White House, which is what Hillary Clinton represents. That is why it’s critical that Republicans unite around our shared principles, advance a conservative agenda, and do all we can to win this fall. With that focus, we had a great conversation this morning. While we were honest about our few differences, we recognize that there are also many important areas of common ground. We will be having additional discussions, but remain confident there’s a great opportunity to unify our party and win this fall, and we are totally committed to working together to achieve that goal. We are extremely proud of the fact that many millions of new voters have entered the primary system, far more than ever before in the Republican Party’s history. This was our first meeting, but it was a very positive step toward unification.

Priebus also tweeted: “The meeting was great. It was a very positive step toward party unity.”

Speaking to MSNBC afterwards, Priebus added: “It was a positive mood, it was a mood of cooperation and a feeling of it’s time to unify the party. And I think both parties wanted to do that. And it was great, I mean, it was really a positive step towards unification.”

The New York businessman is spending the day in Washington and also met separately with the House and Senate GOP leaders.

After Trump met with the House GOP leadership, House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers released a statement:

“Today was a very important first step forward to unify as Republicans and build an inclusive coalition of voters to defeat Hillary Clinton which would only be another term of Barack Obama’s top-down, government-knows-best policies.  As the highest-ranking Republican woman in Congress, the mother of a son with Down syndrome, and a friend to people from all walks of life, I offer a unique perspective. Today was my first opportunity to discuss and impress upon the presumptive nominee the importance of championing a core value of the Republican Party: dreaming big for everyone and turning its back on no one.”

On Wednesday, Ryan told reporters he wanted to see Trump bring about “a real unification of our party” before he endorsed him.

“I don’t really know him,” Ryan said Wednesday 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.”

Follow Alex on Twitter