House Speaker still not ready to endorse Trump

Paul Ryan shoots down rumors that he is about to endorse Donald Trump as the Republican party’s presidential candidate.

Ben Ariel ,

Paul Ryan
Paul Ryan

United States House Speaker Paul Ryan is still not ready to endorse Donald Trump as the Republican party’s presidential candidate, he said Wednesday, amid speculations he is planning to do so.

According to CNN, Ryan said his senior aides are in touch daily with the presumptive nominee's staff in an effort to find common ground on bedrock GOP issues.

The pair will talk by phone on Wednesday night, the network reported, but a Ryan spokesman, Zack Roday, made clear the call was not about an endorsement.

Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill, Ryan would not say if he is moving any closer to backing his party's standard bearer, despite having "productive talks" with his campaign.

"I don't know where all this is coming from," Ryan said at a briefing over his conference's election-year agenda. "I haven't made a decision. ... and nothing's changed my perspective. We're still having productive conversations."

Ryan said several weeks ago he is “not yet ready” to support Trump, to which the billionaire responded by saying he was not ready to support Ryan’s agenda.

But the two held a meeting two weeks ago, following which they released a statement in which they stressed the importance of “unity” in the Republican party.

Ryan said Wednesday that the Trump campaign is being briefed on the House GOP election-year agenda focusing on big policy ideas that Republicans largely agree on, including repealing Obamacare and overhauling federal regulations. Ryan and senior GOP leaders hope that the discussions will help Trump align his views more closely to Republicans on Capitol Hill.

"This is an agenda for the next president," Ryan said of the House Republican effort, according to CNN.

But he said the agenda won't touch hot-button issues that Ryan and Trump disagree on, including deporting millions of undocumented immigrants -- a centerpiece of Trump's campaign.

"That's not in our agenda project," Ryan said, adding that the GOP is a "big tent party."

Asked why not just endorse Trump now, Ryan said he wanted to have a "sincere deliberative process" to discuss common GOP principles.

"I have no timeline on my mind," he stressed, according to the CNN report.

Still, Ryan refused to criticize Trump and his controversial comments, including about Hispanics, women and prisoners of war.

"I'm not going to litigate this stuff. I'm focusing on what we can control here in the House."