House Speaker Paul Ryan will try to unite Republicans behind presumptive Republican president Donald Trump but it might take Ryan some time before he endorses the New York entrepreneur and reality TV star, Rep. Peter King said Thursday.
King said he did not go to any of the meetings between leaders of the Republican House and Senate and Trump in Washington Thursday morning. But King said hours later he met with Ryan (R-Wis.) about an unrelated matter and Ryan talked about his meeting with Trump.
“I think he is going to find a way to have Republicans to unite behind Trump, agreeing to disagree, but not have any fake unity,” said King. But he added, “It may be a while before Paul endorses him.”
Ryan will need some time “to find a way forward to work together, to sort it out” with Trump, King said. Trump has made comments — notably, that he would bar Muslims at least temporarily from entry into the United States — that Ryan has repudiated.
Ryan, meanwhile, is crafting an agenda on policies and goals for the House Republicans that differ from some of Trump’s statements. Ryan seeks a revamp of Medicare and Social Security, for example, but Trump said he wouldn’t touch either program.
King said when they met Ryan was “very upbeat.”
“He said the meeting was very friendly from the start. He said they can find ways to find common ground,” King said.
King acknowledged he had called Trump “not fit to be president” after Trump attacked former President George W. Bush, blaming him for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States and for starting the Iraq War.
“I stand by all those things I said. I said all along I would support the nominee of the party. I do endorse him and I’ll vote for him, but I don’t intend to be campaigning for him,” King said.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), who said he did not attend any of the meetings with Trump, responded to a query about the Ryan-Trump meeting with a statement that said, in part, “I have only heard positive feedback regarding today’s meeting between Speaker Ryan and Mr. Trump.”