Top Republican and US House Speaker Paul Ryan has refused to endorse Donald Trump as the Republican presidential candidate, indicating a fracture within the party over Trump’s candidacy.
“I’m just not ready to do that at this point. I’m not there right now,” Ryan told CNN.
Ryan’s statement echoes a major challenge that Trump has to tackle in unifying the Grand Old Party to rally behind him, indicating that the onus on unifying the party lies with Trump.
He is the presumptive presidential nominee of the party after Ted Cruz and John Kasich withdrew from the race following his victory at Indiana.
“And I hope to (support Trump), though, and I want to. But I think what is required is that we unify the party. And I think the bulk of the burden on unifying the party will have to come from our presumptive nominee,” Ryan said.
Paul went on to state that he hoped that the candidate “advances the principles” of the party and appeals to a majority of Americans. Referring to Lincoln and Reagan, both former Republican presidents, Ryan stated his hopes that the republican candidate, at the very least, aspires to be “Lincoln- and Reagan-esque”.
Trump responded immediately to the speaker’s refusal to extend support, going on to say that he is not ready to support speaker.
“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.” said Trump at a campaign rally in Charleston.
The tension and disagreements between Trump and Ryan is no secret.
The Washington Post reported that, “they have philosophical differences about the size and scope of government. Ryan champions free-trade agreements, international military engagement, and sweeping overhauls of Social Security and Medicare, whereas Trump is an avowed opponent of recent trade deals, foreign interventions and proposed changes to entitlement programs.”
Trump’s candidacy, which many expected to crash short, went on to surprise many as he continued to win primaries across the country. His popularity, despite his often controversial and racist actions, was so alarming that both his political opponents decided to work together in order to prevent him from becoming the Republican presidential candidate.
Ted Cruz and John Kasich, in a desperate effort to stop Trump from crossing the 1237 delegate threshold, had agreed to allow Cruz to contest in Indiana against Trump in a one on one contest, widely expected to favour Cruz.
Many in the party are hesitant to support Trump, who has vocally stated that he would not let Muslims enter the US and that he would build a wall along the US-Mexican border to prevent illegal immigration.
(With inputs from agencies)