Donald Trump does not seem bothered by House Speaker Paul Ryan’s refusal — as of now — to support him. But the presumptive Republican presidential nominee did admit that it caught him by surprise.
Ryan, the country’s highest-ranking Republican lawmaker, said he is currently ”not ready” to endorse Trump until he “advances the principles of our party and appeals to a wide, vast majority of Americans.” On Friday, Trump fired back, telling “Fox and Friends” that “I’ve brought in millions of people into the party. We set a record.”
“I hate to say that it’s me but let’s say — let’s assume that it’s me. And I was really surprised by it and it’s fine,” the billionaire businessman said. “He can do whatever he wants to do. It’s fine but I was surprised by it, and by the way, many other people were surprised by it.”
He added, “I can tell you I have many endorsements from yesterday,” referring to former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and a number of other GOP leaders and party activists. “They’re coming in left and right. He’s one of the only ones who was really surprising.”
On Friday, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said he spoke with Ryan “multiple times” following his remarks, and that the House speaker is prepared to “work through” his reservations about supporting Trump.
Ryan’s comments, which came as a surprise to many, further deepened the divide the Republican Party has been facing for years. It came two days after Trump won the Indiana GOP primary contest, knocking Ted Cruz and John Kasich out of the race. The victory led Priebus to declare the real estate mogul as the party’s presumptive nominee.
George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush — the only two living former Republican presidents — said on Thursday that they won’t endorse Trump or attend the nominating convention in Cleveland this summer. The two most recent GOP presidential nominees, Sen. John McCain and Mitt Romney, also said they won’t attended the convention. However, McCain said he would support Trump’s candidacy and has offered to council him on foreign policy.
Trump also said on Friday that he’s scheduled to meet with Ryan next week and emphasized that it’s imperative the party is united.
Ryan had said he wants to make sure that Trump runs ”a principled campaign that Republicans can be proud about.”