Republican vice presidential nominee and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence came out on Wednesday to endorse Speaker Paul D. Ryan in his primary contest, despite Donald Trump’s refusal to endorse the Wisconsin Republican a day earlier.
“I strongly support Paul Ryan, strongly endorse his reelection,” Pence said in an interview with Fox News. “I believe we need Paul Ryan in leadership in the Congress of the United States to rebuild our military, to strengthen our economy and to ensure that we have the kind of leadership in this country that will make America great again.”
When Trump was asked Tuesday in an interview with The Washington Post whether he was supporting Ryan in his primary, he said, “I like Paul, but these are horrible times for our country.”
“We need very strong leadership. We need very, very strong leadership. And I’m just not quite there yet. I’m not quite there yet,” Trump said.
His words echoed Ryan’s own remarks in May when he initially declined to endorse Trump shortly after the real estate mogul clinched the presidential nomination.
Ryan faces a primary challenge from Paul Nehlen, a Wisconsin businessman who said at a news conference on Wednesday that the nine-term congressman has betrayed the GOP presidential nominee and does not support the issues that matter to his constituents.
“Speaker Ryan’s repeated betrayal of Donald Trump is an act of sabotage against our party and an act of sabotage against our Republican electorate who selected Mr. Trump as our nominee,” Nehlen said. “Speaker Ryan’s actions once again indicate that has never cared about his constituents that he’s been elected to represent.”
A May poll showed Nehlen trailing Ryan by 73 points; and second quarter fundraising totals showed the speaker raised about $5.5 million for his congressional campaign, compared to Nehlen’s $589,000.