House Speaker Paul Ryan and presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump appeared to find unity at their highly-publicized Thursday meeting in the cause of beating Hillary Clinton in the fall.
In a joint statement released after the meeting, the two said: “The United States cannot afford another four years of the Obama White House, which is what Hillary Clinton represents. That is why it’s critical that Republicans unite around our shared principles, advance a conservative agenda, and do all we can to win this fall,” the statement reads.
“With that focus, we had a great conversation this morning. While we were honest about our few differences, we recognize that there are also many important areas of common ground. We will be having additional discussions, but remain confident there’s a great opportunity to unify our party and win this fall, and we are totally committed to working together to achieve that goal.
“We are extremely proud of the fact that many millions of new voters have entered the primary system, far more than ever before in the Republican Party’s history. This was our first meeting, but it was a very positive step toward unification.”
That joint statement comes after Ryan’s pronouncement last week, “I’m not ready to [support Trump] 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.”
Areas of disagreement based on previous public statements by both include the need for social security reform, free trade, tax policy, and Trump’s proposed temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States.
Trump appeared to take Social Security changes off the table, has proposed new tariffs on imported goods, and believes wealthy Americans taxes should be raised even further than they were under Obama. Ryan believes in the need for entitlement reform including Social Security (to help address the massive federal budget deficit), and opposes new tariffs, raising taxes, and the Muslim ban.
Trump has since softened his position on Muslims entering the United States, saying there will be exceptions and placed former New York Mayor Ruby Giuliani in charge of investigating the best solution to address the security concerns that prompted the GOP candidate to propose the ban.
Despite their differences, Trump and Ryan appear to have opted for Reagan’s oft-stated maxim, “an 80 percent friend is not my enemy,” though the presumptive GOP nominee suggested Wednesday the number may be more like 70 percent.