House Speaker Paul Ryan, the highest-ranking elected Republican politician, has finally endorsed Donald Trump, the billionaire who will represent the party in the November Presidential election. Ryan and Trump did not see eye-to-eye on several issues, but in an op-ed published by his hometown newspaper, The Gazette Xtra, Ryan said that he believes Trump will help get the House’s agenda enacted into law.
To enact these ideas, we need a Republican president willing to sign them into law. That’s why, when he sealed the nomination, I could not offer my support for Donald Trump before discussing policies and basic principles.
Here’s a look back at Ryan and Trump’s sometimes combative relationship.
1. Ryan Slammed Trump’s Muslim Ban
Before the primaries began, Ryan made it clear that he did not support Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the country. Ryan said that the plan was “not conservatism” and not what the country stands for. In the same speech though, Ryan did say that he would support whoever the Republican nominee is for president, notes CNN.
Ryan said at the time:
This is not conservatism… What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for and more importantly it’s not what this country stands for. Not only are there many Muslims serving in our armed forces, dying for this country, there are Muslims serving right here in the House working every day to uphold and defend the constitution. Some of our best and biggest allies in this struggle and fight against radical Islamic terror are Muslims, the vast vast vast majority of whom are peaceful, who believe in pluralism and freedom, democracy and individual rights.
Trump is still standing by his plans to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. He did recently say it was “just a suggestion” and stressed that it would only be temporary.
2. Ryan Wouldn’t Run For President
Republicans had been urging Ryan, who was Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012, to jump into the race for the nomination. However, Ryan insisted that he would not, despite releasing some commercials that seemed like campaign ads.
“Count me out: I simply believe that if you want to be the nominee for our party to be the president, you should actually run for it,” Ryan said, notes CNBC. “I chose not to do this, therefore I should not be considered. Period. End of story.”
3. Ryan Would Drop Step Down From GOP Convention Chairman Role
In an interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Ryan said that he would step down as chairman of the Republican National Convention if Trump asked him to. At that point, Ryan said that he just didn’t know Trump that well.
“I never said never,” he said about endorsing Trump. “I just said (not) at this point. I wish I had more time to get to know him before this happened. We just didn’t.”
4. Ryan & Trump Met in Washington, But Trump Didn’t Get Endorsement
Trump and Ryan did meet in Washington last month, but it did not immediately result in an endorsement from Ryan. Ryan instead said that there were signs of a “thaw.” “Going forward, we’re going to go a little deeper in the policy weeds to make sure we have a better understanding of one another,” Ryan added, reports The New York Times.
Bloomberg reported on May 25 that Ryan and Trump had a phone call, which Ryan called “very productive.” However, Ryan was still not ready to make a decision on an endorsement.
5. Ryan Hopes to Unite the GOP
Ryan has constantly talked about bringing unity to the Republican party before the general election and did so again today in his op-ed. He praised Trump’s list of Supreme court nominees and believes that Trump understands the role of the executive branch. For Ryan, it was important to make sure that his agenda in the House would still get accomplished.
We’ve talked about the common ground this agenda can represent. We’ve discussed how the House can be a driver of policy ideas. We’ve talked about how important these reforms are to saving our country. And we’ve talked about how, by focusing on issues that unite Republicans, we can work together to heal the fissures developed through the primary.
Ryan thinks Trump will be able to turn the House’s agenda into laws, which is why he’ll vote for him.