October 24, 2016

Trump relents over Ryan re-election

US presidential candidate Donald Trump has publicly backed House Speaker Paul Ryan days after snubbing him in a spat at the top of the Republican Party.

Mr Trump shocked party members on Tuesday when he refused to endorse Mr Ryan and Senator John McCain in their campaigns for re-election in November.

Mr Ryan, the party’s highest-ranking elected official, had himself long delayed endorsing Mr Trump.

“I support and endorse our Speaker… Paul Ryan,” Mr Trump said on Friday.

“We need unity – we have to win this election,” Mr Trump said during a campaign stop in Green Bay, Wisconsin – Mr Ryan’s home state.

While they might “disagree on a couple of things”, they agreed on a lot as well, he added.

He also endorsed Sen McCain and New Hampshire Sen Kelly Ayotte.

In his earlier interview for the Washington Post, Mr Trump had said he was “just not quite there yet” when asked if he would endorse Mr Ryan and Arizona Sen McCain.

It was the same phrase used by Mr Ryan before he finally endorsed the Republican presidential candidate.

Mr Ryan and San McCain had both criticised Mr Trump’s attacks on the bereaved parents of a US Muslim soldier killed in Iraq.

The soldier, Humayun Khan, was killed by a car bomb in 2004 in Iraq at the age of 27.

Donald Trump is drawing tens of thousands to his rallies. While this may be irrelevant in a national electorate that numbers in the hundreds of millions, the adulation of crowds is catnip to even the most jaded of candidates.

Then there’s the torrent of money that Mr Trump has unleashed – more than $80m (£61m) in July, thanks to a flood of small-donor contributions. Presidential hopefuls with enthusiastic audiences and campaign coffers full of cash aren’t prone to humble exits.

Ever since Mr Trump descended that golden escalator to announce his candidacy last July, his campaign has been a roller-coaster ride for the Republican establishment, alternating between reluctant acceptance and sky-is-falling hysteria.

This week has marked one of the more pronounced troughs in this journey, but the general election sprint is only just beginning. There may still be peaks of resigned accommodation ahead. If Mr Trump can get back on message with a few carefully modulated speeches and at least a handful of news cycles without outrageous statements, the polls could again narrow to within a more typical partisan split. There’s nothing the media like more than a good candidate comeback story.

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