As Donald Trump holds off endorsing House Speaker Paul D. Ryan in Wisconsin's Republican primary, his running mate enthusiastically endorsed Ryan on Wednesday, calling him a “longtime friend” and “strong conservative leader.”
Trump has angered his party's leadership by refusing to endorse Ryan or Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in their primary campaigns. Both Ryan and McCain have endorsed Trump but have remained critical of many of his comments, including Trump's ongoing public feud with the parents of a Muslim American soldier killed in 2004. Wisconsin holds its primary Tuesday and the Arizona primary is later this month. In an interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday, Trump praised Ryan’s underdog opponent, Paul Nehlen.
“I like Paul, but these are horrible times for our country," Trump said in the interview. "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.”
Pence said that he discussed his endorsement of Ryan with Trump on Wednesday morning.
"He strongly encouraged me to endorse Paul Ryan in next Tuesday’s primary," Pence said, "and I’m pleased to do it."