- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 11, 2016

It’s only a matter of time before House Speaker Paul D. Ryan succumbs to endorsing Donald Trump for president, a GOP strategist familiar with the speaker’s thinking said Wednesday.

“Sooner or later, you are going to see an endorsement,” said Brian Fraley, a Republican political consultant in Mr. Ryan’s home state Wisconsin.

Mr. Ryan is the most prominent elected Republican official to withhold support from the party’s presumptive nominee, citing uncertainty about the billionaire businessman’s commitment to conservative principles.

The two men will meet Thursday in Washington in pursuit of party unity. Mr. Trump also will meet separately with House GOP leadership team and with Senate Republicans.

Mr. Fraley cautioned not to expect Mr. Ryan to give full-throated pledge of support after the meeting.

“I don’t think they are going to come out of the meeting and hold hands in front of a podium, and [Mr. Ryan] is going to put on a Trump ‘Make America Great Again’ hat or anything like that.” he said. “But eventually, he’s going to get there.”

Mr. Fraley, who is a #NeverTrump adherent and vowed not to vote for Mr. Trump under any circumstances, said Mr. Ryan was acting prudently in delaying an endorsement. But he said political reality would eventually require the speaker to back the party’s nominee.

“It is wise not to rush to embrace the Trump Train because when you embrace it too tightly, you also get the baggage car,” he said. “I’m also a political realist, and I’m not going to hold it against people, especially in party leadership positions, that eventually come around and back the nominee.”

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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