GREEN BAY, Wis., Aug. 6 (UPI) — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump endorsed House Speaker Paul Ryan at a rally in Ryan’s home state on Friday, ending several days of drama between Trump and party leaders after he pointedly declined to endorse Ryan and others in an interview Tuesday.
Trump was asked by The Washington Post whether he supported Ryan in his home district primary and Trump used language similar to what Ryan said about Trump after he effectively sealed the nomination. Trump said he was “not quite there yet” on endorsing Ryan.
The comments set off a furious few days of politicking, with questions surrounding whether the GOP had achieved any of the party unity it had sought during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland two weeks ago.
Speaking in Green Bay, Wis., on Friday, Trump cited exactly that — party unity — as his reason for endorsing Ryan, albeit belatedly.
“In our shared mission to make America great again, I support and endorse our Speaker of the House Paul Ryan,” Trump said, reading from prepared notes. “We need unity. We have to win this election. This is truly one of the most important elections in my lifetime.”
Trump also used the moment to put to rest two other simmering feuds with top Republicans by announcing his support for Arizona Sen. John McCain and New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, two other top GOP lawmakers who Trump also declined to endorse.
Trump and McCain have not seen eye-to-eye dating back to last year, when Trump criticized McCain, saying he was not a war hero because he was captured by the Vietnamese.
Now, Trump said, Republicans need to come together to defeat Hillary Clinton in the fall.
“I need a Republican Senate and a House to accomplish all of the changes that we have to make,” the New York billionaire said. “So I embrace the wisdom that my 80 percent friend is not my 20 percent enemy.”