Republicans looking for guidance on whether they should endorse Donald Trump aren’t going to get it from House Speaker Paul D. Ryan.
Ryan, among the country’s most powerful Republicans, said in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he won’t tell Republicans what to do — they should, “follow their conscience ,” according to a transcript of the interview released in advance of the program set to air Sunday.
“I get that this a very strange situation,” Ryan said during the interview. “[Trump is] a very unique nominee. 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. … That’ll definitely knock us out of the White House.”
The statement is just the latest example of the tightrope Ryan has walked in his support of Trump as the GOP’s presidential nominee. Trump’s explosive statements are seen as a liability to the many of the party’s congressional candidates.
Ryan initially held off on endorsing Trump and has been criticized for his eventual decision to back the brash business mogul. Trump has, meanwhile, defied party leaders’ appeals to act more presidential and challenged many of the conservative principles Ryan has espoused to unite the party.