Speaking the day before his meeting with Donald Trump, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said he will not pretend like the Republican Party is unified and ready for the general election.
“To pretend we’re unified as a party after coming through a very bruising primary, which just ended like a week ago, to pretend we’re unified without actually unifying, then we go into the fall at half strength,” he said at a press conference with Republican leadership at the Capitol Wednesday. “This election is too important to go into an election at half strength. That means that we need a real unification of our party. Which, look, after a tough primary that’s going to take some effort.”
Ryan’s words set the stakes high for his Thursday meeting with Trump, especially since he has said that he can’t yet support Trump as the presumptive nominee. With Ryan likely chairing the Republican convention in July, he only has a few weeks to make peace with Trump and heal the splintered party before the general election begins.
“I don’t really know him,” Ryan said of Trump, saying they met in person once in 2012 and spoke on the phone in March. “We just need to get to know each other.”
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