On Thursday afternoon, House Speaker and chairman of the Republican National Convention Paul Ryan spoke to CNN's Jake Tapper about Donald Trump's status as the likely Republican presidential candidate and, despite the expectation of him to endorse the presumptive GOP nominee, Ryan instead said, "I'm not there right now." He's just "not ready." But Ryan has some important input on why he wasn't ready, and it can be summed up in this one quote that speaks to the Republican party's devastation. Ryan told Tapper:
[Donald Trump] also inherits something very special, that's very special to a lot of us. 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.
This is telling of how a lot of conservatives have felt while watching Donald Trump excel with ease in the Republican primaries. And while Trump has referred to himself as a "unifier," based on what Ryan told Tapper, he seems to believe that Trump will neither unify Americans, nor advance the party's principles.
Bill Kristol, founder of the Weekly Standard said in an interview with MSNBC, "It's really important that Trump not be the face of American conservatism or the Republican party." However, Ryan didn't suggest that he would never endorse Trump. The House Speaker said that he hopes to and wants to endorse Trump eventually, but the nominee first has to play an active role in unifying the party as a whole. Ryan has said throughout the primary process that he vowed to support whoever the nominee might be, but has also spoken out against some of Trump's proposed policies, including his call to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the country.
Ryan also told Tapper, "I think conservatives want to know: Does he share our values and our principles? There’s a lot of questions conservatives are going to want answers to." We will have to see what happens in the coming weeks for Trump to gain the support of the Republican establishment. Can Trump become the "unifier" the GOP wants to see?