THE top elected United States Republican, Paul Ryan, said on Thursday he was not ready to endorse Donald Trump, a sign of the challenges the party’s presumptive presidential nominee faces rallying the Republican establishment behind his White House bid.
Ryan, the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, said conservatives wanted to know if Trump shares their values.
“I hope to support our nominee, I hope to support his candidacy fully,” Ryan said on CNN. “At this point, I’m just not there right now.”
In a statement after Ryan’s remarks, Trump shot back: “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.”
The Republican National Committee, asked for a response to Ryan’s move, said Ryan and Trump were expected to meet soon. It added that “only a united Republican Party will be able to beat Hillary Clinton.”
“We respect Speaker Ryan’s opinion and believe that since the primary ended early we will have time to unify. We anticipate the two meeting soon to begin to help unite the party,” said RNC spokeswoman Lindsay Walters.
Trump’s remaining rivals in the Republican race dropped out this week, clearing his path to be picked as the presidential nominee. He will likely face Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 general election.
Many Republicans have grappled this week with whether to support Trump, who has shunned the party line on trade and upset the party establishment with offensive comments about women and immigrants. Trump on Thursday announced a new campaign finance chairman in response to questions about his readiness for a general election race.
“Suppose Trump loses overwhelmingly. Would you want to have been siding with the captain of the Titanic, or maybe seen as someone who was begging the captain to watch out for icebergs?” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.