Nolan D. McCaskill and Nick Gass write at Politico about the Trump campaign and its supporters response to Speaker Paul Ryan’s refusal to support the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee at this time.
Trump has said it’s imperative to unite the party — though he’s pushed back against complete unity, emphasizing that certain Republicans who have been critical of him should go their own way. During an interview with Sirius XM and “Breitbart News Daily,” Trump said on Friday morning that he liked Ryan but expressed some reservations about his most recent critic.
“He’s doing it under the banner of unity, when in actuality that’s the opposite of unity,” Trump said of Ryan’s remarks. “I’ve also had many people say that I’m better off, but I don’t believe that. I think we should have unity. I think it would be better to have him. But it’s just too bad. Many people think I’m better off. Who knows?”
Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson went much further than her boss, suggesting that the Wisconsin Republican is unfit for his leadership role if he can’t support the party’s presumptive nominee.
Asked plainly by CNN’s John Berman whether Ryan is fit to be speaker if he can’t come around to supporting Trump, Pierson responded, “No, because this is about the party.”
Ryan suggested the onus was on Trump to show he can unite the different wings of the Republican Party, but Pierson disagreed, noting that since Trump has yet to clinch 1,237 delegates, he’s only the presumptive nominee.
“We are a party. Paul Ryan needs to be a — he’s the leader right now,” Pierson said. “We’re told Donald Trump is only the presumptive nominee. He’s not the nominee until 1,237. So really it’s incumbent on Paul Ryan to help bring unity to the party.”
The same sentiment was expressed Thursday evening by Fox News host Sean Hannity, who told viewers he is no longer “ready to support” Ryan as speaker.
“I’m thinking maybe we need a new speaker,” Hannity said during his show. “Thoughts?”
Pierson said the businessman is likely to tell Ryan that by refusing to support him, he’s also going against the will of the people.
“Well, I think he’s gonna talk to Paul Ryan and just say look, you are not just against me. You are against a lot of your voters, and this is something that has been indicative,” Pierson said. “For the last couple of cycles you have had the leadership rejecting its own voters, silencing them, ignoring them, campaigning on one issue and not following through, and that’s why we have a nomination of Donald Trump.”
Pierson said the last two Republican presidential nominees, John McCain and Mitt Romney, weren’t true conservatives, but conservatives “were told to hold our noses and vote for the sake of the party.”
“These same people are now telling us that because their guy didn’t win, they want to hurt the party,” she said. “The issue here isn’t about Donald Trump. If you can’t hold yourself to the standard that you hold everyone else, the problem is with you.”
Read the rest here.