House Speaker Paul Ryan stated on Thursday that he cannot support Donald Trump for president at this time.
When asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper if he would support Trump, Ryan responded, “Well, to be perfectly candid with you … I’m not ready [emphasis added] to do that at this point. I’m not there right now. I hope to though.”
The GOP’s highest ranking elected official said what he wants to see first is a commitment to advance Republican principles. “I think what a lot of Republicans want to see is that we have a standard bearer that bears our standards and unifies all wings of the Republican Party,” Ryan said.
The principles he mentioned included “limited government, the proper role of the executive, [and] adherence to the Constitution.”
Ryan pointed out that during the course of the campaign, to date, he has addressed some instances publicly where he felt Trump strayed from Republican Party principles. The New York Times recounted some examples.
After Trump proposed a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States, the Speaker stated, “This is not conservatism. What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for, and more importantly, it’s not what this country stands for.”
Ryan also criticized Trump for not being quick enough in disavowing an endorsement from former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. “If a person wants to be the nominee of the Republican Party, there can be no evasion and no games,” Ryan told reporters in early March. “They must reject any group or cause that is built on bigotry. This party does not prey on people’s prejudices. We appeal to their highest ideals. This is the party of Lincoln.”
Ryan told Tapper during his Thursday interview that he recognized not every Republican Party nominee is going to be a Lincoln or a Reagan, but the person must adhere to certain key conservative principles, or he cannot support that candidate.