Is our long national nightmare over? According to a tweet from inside the most-watched pitch meeting in history, RNC chair Reince Priebus assured his followers on Twitter that the meeting between Donald Trump and Paul Ryan went “great.” Unity, here we come!
The meeting was great. It was a very positive step toward party unity.
— Reince Priebus (@Reince) May 12, 2016
Fox News followed up with its own source in the meeting, who concurred:
One source inside the meeting provided an unvarnished assessment to Fox News: “No B.S. Very helpful.”
The accounts were the first indication of how the high-stakes trio of meetings among Trump and GOP leaders was going, with much at stake for the presumptive nominee, for House Speaker Paul Ryan and for the party itself.
However, the measure of “great” and “helpful” may have shrunk a bit in size. The same Fox source says the House Speaker is still “not there yet” on supporting Trump:
The source inside the first meeting also described it as “very positive” and a “good step toward achieving party unity.” According to the source, Trump and Ryan discussed a range of policy issues. The source would not characterize whether Ryan, who last week declined to endorse the presumptive nominee, was “there” yet on that issue.
Not there yet? If that’s the case, then nothing much has actually changed since yesterday, when Ryan emphasized the need for unity in the face of a potential Hillary Clinton presidency. Ryan seemed prepared for that commitment yesterday, but in a joint statement released after the summit, the two called this meeting just “a very positive step toward unification,” while noting that there were “many important areas of common ground”:
— Jessica Taylor (@JessicaTaylor) May 12, 2016
So yes, it appears that Ryan is not “there” yet. Perhaps this will work to keep the rift small and friendly for a while until Ryan’s ready to offer support on just an organizational basis. But the fact that the statement shares the sentiment that Republicans need to “unite around shared principles” with the outcome that makes clear that unity has not yet been achieved certainly makes it look like not all of the key principles are shared … at least not for now.
So, the circus will continue … almost literally, as the scene outside the summit proved, for a while at least. The AP offers up this look at the protests outside the meeting, which included a giant papier-maché head representing a caricature of Donald Trump, plus a solitary figure representing “Rabbis Against Trump”:
As did Reuters:
If that protest seems strangely underwhelming, you’re not alone. The Washington Post’s Mike DeBonis and Dan Eggen were less than impressed:
OK, the DREAMers have run out of chants. The papier mache Trump head is falling apart. Time for this to be over.
— Mike DeBonis (@mikedebonis) May 12, 2016
seriously if this is the quality of anti-Trump protest to expect, the Dems better start getting truly worried
— Dan Eggen (@DanEggenWPost) May 12, 2016
They’ll have plenty of opportunities to improve … or fade away.
Update: In his press conference after the meeting — a regular weekly briefing, actually — Ryan emphasized the positive aspects of the meeting, calling him “a warm and friendly person” at one point. He cautioned that it takes more than 45 minutes to get to know people, and that he can’t offer any more than he’s happy with the direction the meeting took. He didn’t want to elaborate on the specifics of the policy discussions, noting that a “conversation of trust” is still ongoing. “Can we unify on common, core principles?” Ryan asked rhetorically. “I’m very sure that the answer to that is yes.”