Wow: I'm not ready to endorse Trump, says Paul Ryan; Update: I'm not ready to support Ryan's agenda, says Trump

I know he was Mitt’s guy in 2012 but wow. A reigning Republican Speaker, declining to endorse the presumptive Republican nominee — a day after McConnell capitulated? Wow. This is going to put the brakes on the Trump train rolling through Congress (or at least slow it down) since now anti-Trumpers there will have cover from a more famous Republican to hold out on endorsing as well. It’s also the best proof yet of how nervous House Republicans are about losing their majority with President Trump at the top of the ticket. This is Ryan doing his best to beg voters not to view them and Trump as a package deal.

He’s not #NeverTrump, though. I’m not there yet, he told Tapper — and that’s Trump’s real problem with Republicans this fall. To repeat a point from yesterday, the #NeverTrump contingent that refuses categorically to support him is negligible given the size of the total general electorate. The people Trump needs to win over are the #SkepticalOfTrump group. That’s where Ryan is. Those voters aren’t ruling out voting for him; most of them assuredly will end up voting for him, as will Ryan. (Imagine a Republican Speaker refusing to endorse all the way to election day, especially if Trump stands a chance of winning.) But Trump’s got to do more to convince them he’ll be recognizably Republican-ish this fall. Ryan’s using that sentiment here, a day after Trump started making noise that he’s prepared to raise the minimum wage and possibly retreat on tax cuts for the rich, to warn him that if he keeps going left, not all of the party will follow. Trump should appreciate that for what it is — a play for leverage in a negotiation, specifically a negotiation over the future of the GOP. Ryan’s practicing the art of the deal.

Just one question: Given how widely he and Trump diverge on economics, how can Trump pander to the center this fall while also winning Ryan over?

And if this is true, why would Ryan ever endorse?

Unless Trump shocks the world by rising to a respectable favorable rating among the general electorate, Ryan has every political reason to keep holding out and trying to quarantine the House from the nominee. And yet it’s impossible to imagine him refusing all the way to November. Remember, as Speaker, he’s the chairman of the convention. How’s it going to work in Cleveland if the guy in charge is still on record as giving thumbs down when the proceedings are gaveled into session in July? Over/under on Ryan endorsing Trump is three days before. Exit quotation: “We want a standard-bearer that bears our standards.” Good luck with that, buddy.

Update: Fair point.

When Ryan endorses now, the headline will be, “Trump proves he’s conservative enough for Paul Ryan.” That’ll make things harder for #NeverTrumpers.

Update: I know you are but what am I?

Jazz Shaw May 24, 2022 7:58 AM ET