Speaker Ryan on backing Trump: Follow your conscience

Greg Nash

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) says Republicans should follow their conscience when deciding whether to endorse presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump.

“The last thing I would do is tell anybody to do something that’s contrary to their conscience,” Ryan told NBC’s “Meet the Press with Chuck Todd” in an excerpt of an interview that will air Sunday.

{mosads}“I get that this is a very strange situation. He’s a very unique nominee.”

Ryan endorsed Trump for president earlier this month after holding out for weeks. Despite that support, he hasn’t shied away from criticizing Trump on issues like his attacks on a Hispanic judge and his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States.

The Speaker said it wasn’t his place to divide the party by withholding an endorsement.

“I feel as a responsibility institutionally as the Speaker of the House that I should not be leading some chasm in the middle of our party,” he added.

“Because you know what I know that’ll do? That’ll definitely knock us out of the White House.”

Trump’s campaign has had a rocky week, with Republicans criticizing him for suggesting that Presient Obama sympathizes with terrorists following the mass shooting in Orlando. House Energy Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) has said he won’t endorse the Republican, characterizing Trump’s campaign as “off the track,” while Richard Armitage, a veteran of past Republican administrations, said he’d support presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Even lawmakers who support Trump have made an effort to distance themselves from the candidate.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, the California congressman serving as a liaison between the Trump campaign and the House, told reporters not to pepper him with questions about Trump because he is “not a surrogate.”

“Everybody’s asking me to explain all these things that he said,” Hunter said. “Some of these things, I don’t know what Donald Trump is thinking. … I don’t know where Donald Trump is coming from.”

Tags Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Paul Ryan Sunday shows

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