World Bulletin / News Desk
House Speaker Paul Ryan hailed progress after meeting presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump on Thursday, but stopped short of offering an endorsement.
After meeting for more than an hour at the Republican National Committee, the men issued a joint statement in which they said they “remain confident there’s a great opportunity to unify our party and win this fall.
“We are totally committed to working together to achieve that goal,” they said.
Ryan previously said he is not yet ready to offer his endorsement to Trump, signaling a major schism within the Republican Party.
But speaking to reporters at the Capitol, Ryan said he and Trump acknowledged their differences but Trump’s ability to turn out new voters is “really kind of unparalleled” and that he hoped to channel that into continued momentum for the party.
“The question is, can we unify around our common principles to offer the country a compelling and clear choice and an agenda going forward?” he asked. “I am very encouraged that we can put that together.”
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, who played a key role in facilitating the meeting, said in a tweet that the meeting “was great”, and was a “very positive step toward party unity.”
In addition to meeting with Ryan, Trump also met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel and other congressional Republican leaders.
Before departing Washington for his native New York, Trump tweeted: “Great day in D.C. with @SpeakerRyan and Republican leadership. Things working out really well!”
Trump's often bellicose statements, sometimes sensational jabs at fellow Republican candidates and his divisive rhetoric particularly aimed at minorities, have unnerved establishment Republicans.
Roughly two dozen anti-Trump and immigration protesters gathered outside of the Republican National Committee when Trump met Ryan, holding signs that read "Islamophobia is Unamerican", and "Hate won't make American great" while carrying a mock coffin for the Republican Party.