- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 7, 2016

Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump said he was “blindsided” by House Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s decision to withhold his endorsement for now, saying they’d had a nice conversation just a few weeks ago, and the about-face was surprising.

In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” airing Sunday, Mr. Trump says he likes Mr. Ryan, called him “a very good guy,” and thought they were on the same page. But Mr. Ryan, in a stunning interview with CNN on Thursday, repeatedly refused to back Mr. Trump, who has outlasted 16 other candidates and will become their party’s leader at the convention in July.

Mr. Ryan, as speaker, will actually be chairman of the convention that picks Mr. Trump, so his refusal to endorse is particularly striking.

“I was blindsided a little bit,” Mr. Trump told NBC.

Mr. Ryan said he hoped to get on board, but said he needs more proof of Mr. Trump’s conservative credentials and commitment to limited government.

It’s not entirely clear what signs the speaker is looking for, but he and Mr. Trump are at odds on some of the biggest issues the billionaire businessman has staked out in this campaign, including immigration and trade.

Mr. Ryan has been a supporter of legalizing illegal immigrants for decades, and is congressional Republicans’ biggest supporter of President Obama’s Pacific trade deal, while Mr. Trump has staked his campaign on cracking down on illegal immigrants and on opposing trade deals he says are sapping American greatness.

Mr. Trump is now slated to meet with Mr. Ryan and other House GOP leaders on Thursday.

Mr. Ryan’s refusal to endorse stands in contrast with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who on Wednesday, the day Mr. Trump chased his final competitor from the race, issued a statement saying he will back the party’s nominee.



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