In a CNN interview with Jake Tapper Thursday afternoon, House Speaker Paul Ryan was expected to endorse Donald Trump, the lone Republican left in the presidential race and the presumptive nominee for president. Instead, in a moment that almost makes you respect Ryan (in spite of his appalling stance on women's rights issues), Ryan flat-out refused to do so, saying he couldn't support Donald Trump "at this point." The video of GOP shining star Paul Ryan rejecting Donald Trump — who is more than likely to represent the party in the general election — is astounding.
"I'm just not ready," Ryan said frankly. Later, he added, "I'm just not there right now."
The implication, of course, is that Ryan will endorse Trump at some point — but, until then, Ryan has essentially opened the door for other RNC members to come out and say honestly that they cannot support the man who will likely represent their party in November.
"This is the party of Lincoln and Reagan and Jack Kemp. And we don't always nominate a Lincoln or a Reagan every four years, but we hope that our nominee aspires to be Lincoln- or Reagan-esque — that that person advances the principles of our party and appeals to a wide, vast majority of Americans," Ryan explained.
It's no secret that the big players in the party — which of course nominated Ryan for the role of speaker within milliseconds of John Boehner's abrupt resignation from the position — believes Paul Ryan is to be their only hope. Ryan has steadily maintained that he has no plans whatsoever to run for the role of president (and initially even rejected the role of Speaker), but this may be a ploy to build momentum for a run in 2020 or thereafter.
"I'm just a guy giving you my piece of mind," Ryan told Tapper.
Ryan isn't "just a guy." He's the House Speaker — the clue's in the title; he speaks for the House, which is currently controlled by its Republican faction. Many expected Ryan to endorse Trump, but with reservations; after all, no potential nominee for president wants to be on the wrong side of history (and make no mistake, this is what it looks like). Instead, Ryan flat-out said that he wasn't ready to accept that an egocentric billionaire — who had tweeted "I love Hispanics!" just minutes earlier — would represent the party for which he speaks "right now."
If Ryan had endorsed Trump, then members of the Republican Party would have been faced with even more turmoil: Endorse Trump, or turn their back on their party? Ryan has given the party a "get-out-of-jail-free" card — in effect, that members of the party can hold off on making an official endorsement, or even refuse to endorse Trump.