Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said he would step down as co-chairman of the Republican convention if Donald Trump asks, given Ryan’s lack of support for the presumptive GOP nominee.
“Yes. That is his position,” Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong wrote in an email Monday.
Ryan’s willingness to cede his position at the convention, originally reported by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, follows his announcement last week that the speaker could not support Trump until the businessman changes his tone and embraces Republican principles. Trump will come to Capitol Hill on Thursday to meet with Ryan and rank-and-file Republican House members during their conference meeting.
“This is the party of Lincoln, of Reagan, of Jack Kemp. And we don’t always nominate a Lincoln and a Reagan every four years, but we hope that our nominee aspires to be Lincoln- and Reagan-esque,” Ryan said on CNN.
The speaker said he hopes to eventually support Trump but added: “I’m not there right now.”
Trump replied that he is “not ready to support Speaker Ryan’s agenda.”
“Perhaps in the future we can work together and come to an agreement about what is best for the American people. They have been treated so badly for so long that it is about time for politicians to put them first!” Trump said in a statement Thursday.
Ryan later softened his tone in comments to the Journal-Sentinel.
“I just want to get to know the guy…. We just don’t know each other,” he said of Trump.
“I never said never. I just said [not] at this point. I wish I had more time to get to know him before this happened. We just didn’t.”
Kelsey Snell contributed.