With a race against presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton on the horizon, Republicans took a major first step toward unifying their party when House Speaker Paul Ryan met with nominee Donald Trump.
"Look, it's no secret that Donald Trump and I have had our differences," Ryan told reporters after the May 12 meeting, according to CNN.
"We talked about those differences today. That's common knowledge. The question is, what is it we need to do to unify the Republican party and all strains of conservative wings in the party? We had a very good and encouraging conversation on just how to do that."
Getting Ryan on board is a victory for Trump, who campaigned as a Washington outsider and was highly critical of the Republican establishment. Aside from his post as House Speaker, Ryan was also the vice presidential running mate of former Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney in 2012. With Romney leading a group of Republicans who still doubt Trump's presidential potential, the Trump campaign likely hopes Ryan's cooperation will bring hold-outs into the fold ahead of the general election.
Trump and traditional Republicans have more common ground than differences, Ryan told reporters.
"It was ... important that we discussed the core principles that tie us all together," Ryan said. "Principles like the constitution, the separation of powers, and the fact that we have an executive that goes way beyond the boundaries of the constitution."
The meeting was brokered by Reince Preibus, the Republican National Committee chairman who has been a conduit between the Trump campaign and elected Republicans.
"The meeting was great," Preibus tweeted on May 12. "It was a very positive step toward party unity."
Ryan joins Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the effort to unite the party behind Trump ahead of the Republican convention in Cleveland and the general election.
"The United States cannot afford another four years of the Obama White House, which is what Hillary Clinton represents," Trump and Ryan wrote in a joint statement, which Ryan posted to his Twitter account.
"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."