Politics

Ryan, Trump Shock With Good Vibes

Speaker says unity discussions are 'going in a positive direction'

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan speaks at a news conference following his meeting with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan said after his meeting Thursday with Donald Trump  that their discussions are "going in a positive direction," but stopped short of endorsing the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.  

Ryan told reporters that unifying the GOP, which he has made a condition of his eventual support of Trump, "is a process" that will take more than 45 minutes. But he noted that Trump encouraged him to remain chairman of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland — a sign that Trump believes Ryan will eventually have his back .   

“We are now planting the seeds to get ourselves unified to bridge the gap and differences,” he said.  

Ryan spoke with reporters after he and Trump issued a joint statement saying they are committed to working together to unify the Republican Party and ensure the GOP wins in November. They said they will be having additional discussions to that end.  

"While we were honest about our few differences, we recognize that there are also many important areas of common ground," the statement said.   

Recap: Trump's Day on Capitol Hill

At his news conference, Ryan said “it’s really a remarkable achievement” that Trump earned the votes of more Republicans throughout the primary, even before it is officially over, than any previous GOP presidential contender.   

The question, he said, is how they can unify their goals to add to those numbers, not subtract from them, in November.   

"Here’s what we agree on: a Hillary Clinton presidency would be disastrous for this country," Ryan said.   

Ryan also cited areas of policy agreement between him and Trump , like their interest in restoring the constitution and adhering to separation of powers, and their anti-abortion stances. Trump has made statements that have made some Republicans question his stance on both issues.   

The discussion with House Republican leaders included a focus on their agenda, dubbed "Confident America," that Trump had said last week he was “not ready” to support. Ryan suggested further discussions will be held between their policy staffs before Trump revises his remarks.  

“We’re going to go a little deeper in the policy weeds to make sure we have a better understanding of one another,” the speaker said.   

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.