Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump met with House Speaker Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, in what was described as a "positive step" toward unifying the fractured GOP. But Trump still has a way to go before winning Ryan's endorsement.
In a joint statement released to the media after the meeting in Washington, D.C., on May 12, Trump and Ryan said they hope Republicans can “unite around our shared principles, advance a conservative agenda and do all we can to win this fall.”
The two men also addressed Ryan's reluctance to endorse Trump for the nomination, even though the New York billionaire is now the only candidate left after handily beating the other primary candidates.
“While we were honest about our few differences, we recognize that there are also many important areas of common ground,” the joint statement said. “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.”
Despite the face-to-face meeting, Ryan has still not formally backed Trump, but said that he was “encouraged” by his discussions with Trump, according to ABC News.
"It’s very important that we don’t fake unifying, we don’t pretend unification, that we truly and actually unify so we are full strength in the fall," Ryan said at a news conference after the meeting. "I don’t want us to have a fake unification process here."
Ryan stirred controversy on May 6 when he told CNN's Jake Tapper that he was “just not ready” to support Trump's candidacy.
“This is the party of Lincoln, of Reagan, of Jack Kemp. And we don’t always nominate a Lincoln and a Reagan every four years, but we hope that our nominee aspires to be Lincoln- and Reagan-esque,” Ryan said, adding that he hopes Trump will promote “the principles of our party and appeals to a wide, vast majority of Americans.”