US Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Tuesday said he agrees with a new poll showing that GOP voters trust Donald Trump rather than himself to lead the Republican Party.
“I hope it’s Donald Trump. He’s getting the nomination,” Ryan, the highest-ranking elected Republican in the country, told reporters at a news conference.
An NBC News/Survey online poll released Tuesday morning showed that nearly six in 10 Republican voters “trust” Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, to lead the party. Only four in 10 voters say they have more faith in Ryan, the 2012 vice presidential nominee, as the party’s leader.
Asked directly if he believes Trump is the leader of the Republican Party, the Speaker replied: “Good Lord, I hope it is, because the person who is getting the nomination is the person to lead our party.”
Ryan’s remarks come just days after he and Trump held their first formal meeting since the Manhattan billionaire became the GOP’s all-but-certain nominee. While both men praised each other after the two-hour-plus huddle, Ryan continued to withhold a formal endorsement even though all other candidates have dropped out.
Ryan has repeatedly said he will not “fake” GOP unity after a divisive primary.
When questions Tuesday turned to an in-depth New York Times report examining how Trump treated women in private, Ryan said he would not get dragged into the “day-to-day, up and down of this campaign.”
“Don’t get into the habit of thinking I’m going to comment on what’s up, what’s down, and what article is here and what article is there,” Ryan said. “I’m focused on policies and principles and unifying our party.”
However, during the heated primary race, the Wisconsin Republican did weigh in several times when he thought Trump had crossed the line.
He blasted Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the country as “unconstitutional,” called on Trump to control violence at some campaign rallies, and condemned him for failing to more aggressively disavow an endorsement from a white supremacist.