House Speaker Paul Ryan inched closer to embracing Donald Trump on Tuesday as he said he backs a poll that reveals Republican voters trust the presumptive GOP presidential candidate more than him to lead their party into the future.
"I hope its Donald Trump. He's getting the nomination," Ryan said at a news conference on Tuesday, The Hill
"Good Lord, I hope it is, because the person who is getting the nomination is the person to lead our party."
The NBC News
/SurveyMonkey tracking poll found nearly six in 10 trust Trump over the Wisconsin senator to pilot the GOP in the coming years. About four in 10 trust Ryan more.
Ryan's remarks are the closest he's come to endorsing the billionaire real-estate tycoon, whose almost-assured ascension to the nomination has split the Republican Party.
Thus far, Ryan has said he is not ready to support Trump because he wants to see the party unified first, but the two broke bread during a cordial, closed-door meeting in Washington last week.
Asked about a New York Times report on Trump's purported questionable treatment of women over the years, Ryan demurred.
"Don't get into the habit of thinking I'm going to comment on what's up, what's down, and what article is here and what article is there. I'm focused on policies and principles and unifying our party," he said.
Ryan is under pressure to make a stand on Trump.
In the Monday edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
, the newspaper's Washington Bureau Chief Craig Gilbert wrote:
"When Ryan agreed to be House speaker last fall, he took a job that's famous for ending careers, that came with the baggage of a divided party and divided government.
"One of the few political benefits was that it gave Ryan an excuse for staying out of a wild and ugly fight for the GOP nomination. That's gone now. Ryan's party is nominating the Republican most likely to make him squirm, and neutrality isn't an option."
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