Politics

7 Times Ryan Has Been Less Than Supportive of Trump

Speaker not expected to offer a glowing endorsement in Tuesday night speech

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, center, has clearly not been shy in criticizing Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As Speaker Paul D. Ryan gets ready to address the Republican National Convention Tuesday night, don't expect him to have a ton of nice things to say about presumptive nominee Donald Trump.  

That's just not his forte. What the Wisconsin Republican excels at is saying things about Trump that make us all question why he endorsed him in the first place. Here's seven examples of that, all of which have occurred since Ryan endorsed Trump on June 2 :  

July 18 — Ryan said Trump is "not my kind of conservative"  during an event hosted by The Wall Street Journal on Monday in Cleveland. He also referred to the Republican Party as being a big-tent party — "real big" — when asked about Trump's controversial proposals, and poked fun of the billionaire mogul when asked what he'd do when a hypothetical President Trump sends an appropriations request to Congress for his wall along the Mexican border. "He’s going to go to Mexico, remember?" Ryan said.  

July 14 — Ryan was asked by NPR's Steve Inskeep if he believes Trump would be a good president when taking Hillary Clinton out of the equation. Ryan couldn't say yes . "That's not the question we have before us," he said. "We have a binary choice. It is either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump." The speaker did say he believes Trump would be a "far better" president than Clinton.   

July 12  — Ryan was peppered with queries about his support for Trump during a CNN town hall event, as questioners called the presumptive GOP nominee a racist and panned his proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the U.S. Of course, Ryan didn't defend Trump . Instead, he said, "We don’t have people who run for office who 100 percent reflect all of our views."   

July 5 — Trump's favorite way to communicate has been through Twitter (He even tweeted his announcement of Mike Pence as his running mate), but Ryan thinks the presidential candidate needs to tidy up his tweets . "I really believe he has got to clean up the way his new media works," the Wisconsin Republican said in an interview on the Milwaukee radio station WTMJ after Trump tweeted the image of Clinton with the words "Most corrupt politician ever" inside a Star of David. Ryan added that "anti-Semitic images have got no place in a presidential campaign."  

June 17 — Despite having endorsed Trump himself, Ryan said in an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press" that he wouldn't tell Republicans to do so but instead, he'd advise them to "follow their conscience ." The speaker called Trump "a very unique nominee" and acknowledged the "strange situation" many Republicans were in. "But I feel as a responsibility, institutionally as the speaker of the House, that I should not be leading some chasm in the middle of our party," he added.   

June 7 —  Ryan told reporters that Trump's remarks that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel couldn't serve impartially in the Trump University case because of his Mexican heritage were indefensible. (Curiel was born in Indiana to Mexican immigrant parents.) "Claiming a person can’t do their job because of their race is sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment ," Ryan said. "I think that should absolutely be disavowed. It’s absolutely unacceptable."    

June 3 —  The day after he endorsed Trump, Ryan said in an interview on The Vicki McKenna Show that the Manhattan businessman "clearly says and does things I don’t agree with" while also taking a swipe at Trump by calling his Curiel comments "out of left field" and saying he could not understand his reasoning.  

Contact McPherson at  lindseymcpherson@rollcall.com  and follow her on Twitter  @lindsemcpherson .

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