POLITICS

Paul Ryan Endorses Donald Trump

So much for holding out on that.

03/06/2016 5:26 AM AEST | Updated 03/06/2016 10:31 AM AEST
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WASHINGTON -- In an unceremonious op-ed in his local paper, Speaker Paul Ryan (Wis.) ended his dithering on the presumptive GOP presidential nominee and said he would vote for Donald Trump in November.

Ryan, who had been holding out on endorsing Trump, said the focus of his conversations with the real estate mogul were on the House's policy agenda.

"Through these conversations, I feel confident he would help us turn the ideas in this agenda into laws to help improve people’s lives," Ryan writes, 666 words into an 806-word op-ed in the GazetteXtra. "That’s why I’ll be voting for him this fall."

Ryan says one person he knows won't support his agenda is Hillary Clinton.

"A Clinton White House would mean four more years of liberal cronyism and a government more out for itself than the people it serves," Ryan writes. "Quite simply, she represents all that our agenda aims to fix."

There was speculation last week that Ryan might declare support for Trump. But he told reporters soon after those stories broke that he wasn't any closer to an endorsement.

A few days away from the Capitol seem to have changed that for the Wisconsin Republican.

Ryan had previously denounced Trump for his proposed ban on Muslims, the businessman's weak effort to distance himself from former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and the violence at Trump’s rallies.

He then appeared on CNN on May 5, two days after Trump had effectively wrapped up the nomination, and told Jake Tapper that he couldn’t endorse Trump “at this point.”

“This is the party of Lincoln, of Reagan, of Jack Kemp,” Ryan said at the time. “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 he wanted to see Trump unify the Republican Party and run a campaign that will allow Americans to "have something that they're proud to support and proud to be a part of."

Two days after Trump went before the press and bashed journalists for questioning whether he had actually donated the $6 million he said he raised for veterans, Ryan apparently decided Trump had changed his tone enough to earn his endorsement.

He writes in the op-ed published Thursday that he’s spent most of his adult life pursuing ways to help “protect the ‘American Idea’ — the notion that the condition of one’s birth does not determine the outcome of one’s life.”

Ryan says the first step in that is putting ideas on paper and having a real debate. “And with the Obama presidency nearing an end, we have a real opportunity to get big things done the next four years,” he says.

He goes on to preview an agenda that House Republicans will start rolling out next week.

“To enact these ideas, we need a Republican president willing to sign them into law,” Ryan writes. “That’s why, when he sealed the nomination, I could not offer my support for Donald Trump before discussing policies and basic principles."

Ryan says he held out on his endorsement to help unite Republicans.

“And if we’re going to unite, it has to be over ideas,” he continues.

Trump himself has been cagey about what ideas he actually endorses, recently seeming to flip-flop on a pledge that he wouldn’t touch Social Security.

But Republicans such as Ryan seem satisfied with whatever it is Trump stands for on this given day.

Still, Ryan’s endorsement does come with some political distance. Ryan says it’s “no secret” that he and Trump have differences.

“I won’t pretend otherwise,” Ryan says. “And when I feel the need to, I’ll continue to speak my mind.”

“But,” Ryan continues, “the reality is, on the issues that make up our agenda, we have more common ground than disagreement.”

You can read the full op-ed here.

Editor's note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liarrampant xenophoberacistmisogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims -- 1.6 billion members of an entire religion -- from entering the U.S.

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