While national attention has been lavished on House Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s hesitance to support Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, nine of his most powerful colleagues in the House decided Friday they have no such qualms about the presumptive Republican nominee — the latest demonstration of how the GOP establishment is falling in line behind Trump.
The Trump campaign announced the endorsement of nine House committee chairmen a day after the nominee’s closely watched visit to Capitol Hill: Rep. Steve Chabot (Ohio) of Small Business, Rep. Micael K. Conaway (Tex.) of Agriculture, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (Tex.) of Financial Services, Rep. Candice S. Miller (Mich.) of House Administration, Rep. Jeff Miller (Fla.) of Veterans’ Affairs, Rep. Tom Price (Ga.) of Budget, Rep. Pete Sessions (Tex.) of Rules, Rep. Bill Shuster (Pa.) of Transportation & Infrastructure, and Rep. Lamar Smith (Tex.) of Science, Space & Technology.
“We stand on the precipice of one of the most important elections of our lifetime,” the nine wrote in a joint statement. “This great nation cannot endure eight more years of Democrat-control of the White House. It cannot afford to put Democrats in charge of Congress. It is paramount that we coalesce around the Republican nominee, Mr. Donald J. Trump, and maintain control of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Any other outcome is a danger to economic growth, puts our national security in peril, enshrines ObamaCare as the law of the land, entraps Americans in a cycle of poverty and dependence, and undermines our constitutional republic.”
Only Shuster had previously endorsed Trump. Particularly notable are the endorsements of Hensarling and Price, who are considered to be close to Ryan and part of an informal sounding board on policy matters. Their backing of Trump is the latest sign that Ryan could be boxed in by his conference and is likely to have little choice but to fashion some sort of alliance with Trump.
“There is a path to winning in November, and it comes through unity,” the nine chairmen wrote. “To solidify this partnership, we endorse Mr. Trump as the Republican nominee for President and call upon all Americans to support him.”
A reminder: Ryan, as a natural-born resident of Wisconsin, is among those Americans.
There are 20 House standing committees. Absent from the letter were the chairmen of several of the most important House committees such as Rep. Harold Rogers (Ky.) of Appropriations, Rep. Kevin Brady (Tex.) of Ways & Means, Rep. Fred Upton (Mich.) of Energy & Commerce, and Rep. Mac Thornberry (Tex.) of Armed Services.
But Trump, in a statement, suggested nine of 20 wasn’t a bad start: “It is tremendous to be working with these leaders and their colleagues on winning solutions that will really move us forward. A strong House Republican Majority is imperative to fixing the problems facing America and making our country better and stronger than ever before.”