Politics

McCarthy: 'A House Divided Cannot Stand'

House leaders to ask Trump to meet with full GOP conference

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, left, is supporting the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, but Speaker Paul D. Ryan says he is not yet ready to make a similar endorsement. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters Wednesday that he is supporting Donald Trump , and he hopes the speaker and other Republicans can back him too.   

"I'd like the party unified," the California Republican said. "A House divided cannot stand. I've watched the last eight years, and we don't need another four of that."  

McCarthy will be present Thursday for one of Speaker Paul D. Ryan's two meetings with Trump , the presumptive GOP presidential nominee.  

[Related: Ready to Meet The Donald, Not Ready to Endorse] Ryan said Wednesday that he needs to get to know Trump. His first meeting with the real estate mogul will include Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and the second will include McCarthy, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rogers.   

After his meetings on the House side, Trump will meet with Senate leaders .  

Meanwhile, rank-and-file House Republicans told their leaders during a conference meeting Wednesday that they too want to meet with the likely nominee.  Members got a "resounding reaction" when they asked, Arizona Rep. Matt Salmon said.  

The message, Salmon said, was, "'OK, great that they're meeting with leadership, but since we're going to be working with whoever the president is, he should come and address the whole conference and spend not just an hour of conference time, but it should be — maybe we should dedicate half of a day to just having questions and answers."  

McCarthy said the leaders will ask Trump if he would meet with the full Republican conference.   

"Anytime you want to unify the party, when you have the nominee there with the entire conference, it would be helpful," McCarthy said. "Everybody could ask their questions. You could hear the answers directly."  

[Related: The War on Trump Is Over] McCarthy added that since members hold a variety of opinions on different issues, it would take some time to get everyone comfortable with Trump as the nominee.   

"You’ve got a number of members that have already supported him, supported him early," he said. "But you’ve got a lot of members that have supported other people too."  

Last week, Ryan announced that he was "not ready" to endorse Trump because the nominee needed to do more to bring the Republican Party together.  

Asked Wednesday if his position was actually making that task more difficult, Ryan said, "What we're trying to do is be as constructive as possible by having a real unification."  

[Related: Ryan Willing to Step Down as Convention Chair if Trump Asks] "To pretend we're unified as a party after coming through a very bruising primary, which just ended like a week ago — to pretend we're unified without actually unifying, then we go into the fall at half strength," the Wisconsin Republican added.   

Ryan declined to say what it would take for him to eventually endorse Trump. "These are conversations we're going to have," he said.   

[Related: 5 Things to Expect When Ryan Meets Trump] McCarthy said that unification in his mind involves setting aside small differences and focusing on an agenda for how America will look 50 years from now.  

Contact McPherson at lindseymcpherson@rollcall.com and follow her on Twitter @lindsemcpherson Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.