House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Wednesday he is still not ready to endorse Donald Trump, despite reports that he was about to endorse the businessman as the Republican presidential nominee.
“I don’t have a timeline on my mind, and I have not made a decision,” the Wisconsin Republican said. “Nothing has changed … We’re still having productive conversations.”
Asked if he’s moving closer to an endorsement, Ryan said, “I have nothing more to add.”
Ryan and Trump were planning to speak on the phone Wednesday evening but not about an endorsement.
“The purpose of the call tonight is for the two of them to continue their conversation about unifying the party,” Ryan’s political spokesman Zack Roday said. “We never gave any indication that the call was about an endorsement.”
The speaker said earlier Wednesday that he didn’t know where the rumors he was set to endorse Trump came from and resisted efforts to characterize the “leaks” as pressure from the Trump campaign for him to speed up his decision.
“I don’t worry about that stuff,” he said. “I’ve been around this a long time. None of that stuff really gets to me.”
As many Republican leaders fall in line behind Trump, Ryan has said he needs more time to decide whether he would support the billionaire mogul. He said Wednesday that he wants the unification of the party as a “deliberative process” and that part of the reason he doesn’t have a time frame in mind is that he’s focused on his job as speaker.
“I think it’s important that we actually discuss the principles that we all share in common and the policies that come from them and get a good understanding on those,” Ryan said. “That’s the kind of conversations we’re having.”
A May 12 meeting in Washington between the two and other GOP officials reportedly went well, with Ryan declaring that attempts to unify the party were “going in a positive direction .”
Trump, Ryan Meet, Find Common Ground
] Since then Ryan’s staff and Trump’s staff have continued the conversations.
“Our staffs talk virtually every day,” the speaker said. “We’re having good conversations and more folks are getting with him as well – you know, other members of Congress – and that’s all what you need to do to begin to get on the same page.
Ryan, who will serve as chairman at the GOP convention in July, has said he recognizes the need for party unity but wants to ensure that Trump supports an agenda that conservative Republican can embrace.
That agenda, outlined in January, includes addressing national security, restoring economic growth, rethinking healthcare, overhauling poverty programs and restoring the constitution.
Ryan said Wednesday that House Republicans will roll out the six policy papers that make up their “Confident America” agenda one at a time throughout June, starting with ideas to combat poverty.
A Party Divided: GOP Leaders Split on Supporting Trump