Ryan: I'll Step Down From Convention Role If Trump Asks

Also defends holding off on support, saying: 'I just want to get to know the guy'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2016 2:15 PM CDT
In this April 19, 2016, file photo, Paul Ryan speaks during a news conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

(Newser) – One thing Paul Ryan says he can't do right now: support presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump. One thing the speaker of the House says he can do: step down as co-chair of the Republican National Convention this July, if that's what Trump wants. "He's the nominee," Ryan tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I'll do whatever he wants with respect to the convention." He adds that it's not like he has absolutely refused to throw his weight behind Trump. "I just said [not] at this point" and that "I just want to get to know the guy." The two are scheduled to meet later this week. Trump, for his part, also seems to be taking what the New York Times frames as a "more conciliatory tone" toward Ryan, distancing himself from fiery remarks Sarah Palin made Sunday about wanting to dethrone Ryan by backing his primary opposition in Wisconsin.

"She's a terrific person, but she's very much a free agent and I didn't know about this until yesterday," Trump told CNN Monday. Ryan tells the Journal Sentinel that he wants to work toward real party unity, not "fake" unity; that Trump had pulled off "an amazing achievement" by emerging victorious in the GOP run; and that he didn't want to get into the nitty-gritty about why he's hesitant about Trump because "I don't want to have a conversation with Donald Trump through the media." Interestingly, the Journal Sentinel notes that Mitt Romney, who ran for president in 2012 with Ryan as his VP pick, is being wooed as a possible third-party candidate to run against Trump—a prospect Ryan says "would be a disaster for our party." (How's Palin going to have time for Ryan with her rapper lawsuits, tiffs with Bill Nye, and stint as "the next Judge Judy"?)

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