Thursday House Speaker Paul Ryan said he would vote for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, an announcement his office said amounts to an endorsement. Ryan, R-Wis., made the announcement in a column for the Janesville Gazette, the speaker’s hometown paper, and also tweeted out his voting preference.
Ryan’s support for Trump ends any speculation about whether or not Ryan would back the likely Republican nominee. Ryan had held off issuing a formal endorsement or saying he would vote for the business magnate even after Trump had appeared to gain the number of delegates needed to win the Republican nomination and all of his primary opponents had suspended their campaigns.
Although Ryan on Thursday seemed to stop short of the long-awaited endorsement, his office clarified that he was in fact getting behind Trump.
“We’re not playing word games, feel free to call it an endorsement,” Ryan’s chief communications adviser Brendan Buck tweeted.
Ryan wrote that conversations he had with Trump on various issues – including whether a President Trump would help enact the House GOP agenda – helped seal his support.
“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 wrote. “That’s why I’ll be voting for him this fall.”
The Wisconsin representative acknowledged that he and Trump have been at odds in the past.
“It’s no secret that he and I have our differences,” Ryan wrote. “I won’t pretend otherwise. And when I feel the need to, I’ll continue to speak my mind. But the reality is, on the issues that make up our agenda, we have more common ground than disagreement.”
Ryan had criticized Trump during the campaign on a range of statements made by the New York billionaire, including a proposed ban on Muslims entering the U.S. The two men held a private summit in May in Washington but Ryan stopped short of backing Trump after the face-to-face meeting.
But Ryan’s support for Trump was inevitable, Fox News was told weeks ago. The news comes as Ryan begins rolling out a series of six policy initiatives during the next several weeks — none of which are expected to be considered in the current Congress.
Ryan made his announcement just as likely Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was about to deliver a much-hyped foreign policy speech. But Buck said the timing was merely happenstance.
“And no, while a fun coincidence, it wasn’t timed to a Hillary Clinton speech,” Buck tweeted. “Believe it or not, we don’t follow her sched that closely.”
An aide to Ryan tweeted that a video would be forthcoming of Ryan talking about his support for Trump.