After emerging from his meeting with Donald Trump earlier this week, Paul Ryan stuck to his guns. While the U.S. Speaker of the House termed the meetings as progress, Paul Ryan held firm that he was not ready to back the presumptive Republican nominee.
While the move has been both lauded and lambasted from politicians and media outlets alike, a possible motive behind the posturing came into focus after Paul wrapped up the meeting. By refusing to commit to a Donald Trump candidacy, Ryan can continue to keep his political and professional distance from the polarizing figure.
That’s a smart move for Ryan as the Speaker is attempting to maintain his party’s majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, CNN commented in a recent article. Competitive congressional races could be negatively impacted as the Republican party begins backing Donald Trump, a scenario the media outlet suggested is happening now in a Florida incumbent’s race.
“But Trump’s detractors on Capitol Hill believe Ryan has provided cover to his colleagues in tough races by showing some distance from the candidate. Rep. Carlos Curbelo — one of the most endangered House Republicans in the country — said: ‘I’m very grateful for the speaker for doing this.'”
The move could work out to benefit both individuals involved, Fox News reported. For Donald Trump, he’s the anti-establishment candidate hell-bent to change the status quo. That’s a position that helped him earn the presumptive nominee title in the first place.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2016
For Paul Ryan, conversely, the move can also be a bargaining chip for his conservative agenda moving forward. By publicly maintaining his stance to not back Trump, Ryan can push for a quid pro quo between Paul and Donald. Ryan can receive support for his staunch fiscal stances in exchange for an endorsement from Paul.
Regardless of motives as to why Paul Ryan refuses to back Donald Trump publicly, a unified Republican party is essential to both individuals’ goals. If Trump secures the nomination and does not have a good showing in the general election, Ryan potentially could lose his majority in the House of Representatives. That’s especially true for Paul in states that currently have vulnerable Republican races.
While the move to make Donald Trump earn his trust publicly is smart, the posturing could also ultimately backfire, the New York Post explained. Paul Ryan is being backed into a corner by the GOP, urging the one-time vice presidential candidate to unify the party. If he doesn’t, Paul Ryan would not chair the Republican presidential convention, Reince Priebus — the head of the party — said Friday. “That would be a little awkward,” Priebus said, quickly adding, “I’m very confident we will have a unified party.”
— Politics Informer (@Politics_Info) May 6, 2016
Despite the insistence and pressure, Paul Ryan continues to maintain the position his one-time running mate — Mitt Romney — currently holds about Trump’s candidacy, the Inquisitr reported. Unlike Romney, however, Paul Ryan isn’t currently being courted by independent parties to offer a third choice in the November elections.
The move to quickly endorse Donald Trump could also undermine a legacy of fiscal values that Paul Ryan aspires toward. It’s a legacy that one media outlet — MSNBC — claims the Republican doesn’t deserve due to his voting record prior to running for vice president in 2012 and becoming Speaker of the House last year.
Despite the posturing, pundits agree that Ryan will eventually back Donald Trump. Paul even admitted as much in his recent press conference, according to The New Yorker. “Yeah, I think this is going in a positive direction, and I think this was a first very encouraging meeting.”
What do you think of the strategic moves Paul Ryan is making in regard to Donald Trump ascending to the presumptive nominee status? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
[Photos by Win McNamee & Mark Lyons/Getty Images]