Politics

Ryan Finally Says He Will Vote For Trump

Speaker's decision comes less than a month after saying he was 'not ready'

Speaker Paul D. Ryan says he'll vote for Donald Trump because "I'm confident he will help turn the House GOP's agenda into laws." (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan is now ready to support presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, an announcement that comes as the speaker is preparing to roll out his "confident America" agenda.  

"I'll be voting for @realDonaldTrump  this fall," the Wisconsin Republican tweeted from his personal Twitter account. "I'm confident he will help turn the House GOP's agenda into laws."  

[ Ryan, Trump Shock With Good Vibes ]  

The speaker's decision to back Trump, like most of his party has, comes less than a month after Ryan said he was "not ready" to support the billionaire real estate mogul.  

His tweet was sent out as Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton was delivering a searing foreign policy speech panning Trump's approach to national security , but an aide to the speaker said there was no connection.  

[ Clinton Says Trump Could Lead U.S. Into Nuclear War ]  

Ryan's endorsement is conveniently timed, coming the week before House Republicans begin rolling out their "confident America" agenda. And that's no coincidence.  

"For me, it’s a question of how to move ahead on the ideas that I—and my House colleagues—have invested so much in through the years," Ryan wrote in an op-ed  he penned for his hometown newspaper, The Janesville Gazette, explaining his decision.  

As Ryan offered his support for a candidate he once indirectly accused of being anti-conservative, he did so with the understanding that backing the party's nominee is what's needed to ensure his agenda is not dead on arrival.   

[ Ryan Announces Plan for Rolling Out House Policy Agenda ]  

"To enact these ideas, we need a Republican president willing to sign them into law," Ryan said in his op-ed.   

Since Trump has won the delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination, and no serious independent challenger has emerged, Ryan either had to get behind Trump or acknowledge that his agenda was just an empty promise.  

Trump, in turn, said he was "not ready" to support Ryan's agenda after the speaker withheld his endorsement last month.   

[ Poll: Republican Voters Side With Trump Over Ryan ]  

Ryan explained his hesitation like this: "When he sealed the nomination, I could not offer my support for Donald Trump before discussing policies and basic principles."  

But now, after four weeks and only one reported in-person meeting, Ryan said he and Trump "have talked at great length" about conservative principles and House Republicans' 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," he said. "That’s why I’ll be voting for him this fall."  

Ryan added that he won't pretend he doesn't still have differences with Trump.  

[ Ryan Decries State of Politics Without Naming Trump ]  

"And when I feel the need to, I’ll continue to speak my mind," he said. "But the reality is, on the issues that make up our agenda, we have more common ground than disagreement."  

Democrats were quick to attack Ryan's decision.   

“Paul Ryan has admitted the obvious and confirmed the inevitable: he will not only vote for Donald Trump, but believes Trump is the right person to advance the House Republicans’ backwards, discriminatory vision for our country," Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokeswoman Meredith Kelly said in a statement.  

Kelly added that Ryan dragging out his endorsement underscores how GOP members in swing districts remain especially vulnerable with Trump at the top of the ticket.  

"Ryan has only caused them further damage," she said. "House Republicans will be inseparably tied to their toxic front-runner in November, case closed."  

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.