Trump, the maverick presidential candidate, took a step closer to unifying the GOP after meetings with party leaders. House Speaker Ryan said it was positive but that more talks were needed before he could endorse Trump.
Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican Party (GOP) presidential nominee, and Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House of Representatives and the GOP's highest elected official, emerged from a highly anticipated meeting expressing confidence they would eventually come together to unify the party ahead of November's presidential election.
The meeting became necessary when Ryan boldly declared last week that he was not ready to support the renegade candidate, who used to be a reality TV star.
Normally, a party's leadership falls in line with its presumptive presidential candidate as a matter of course. But Trump upset the proverbial apple cart with a slew of incendiary and, at times, bombastic statements.
In particular, Ryan took issue with Trump's call to ban all Muslims from entering the US (a position Trumps seems to have unilaterally climbed down from, a little, in recent days), the the deportation of 11 million illegal immigrants, and the imposition of protectionist trade policies.
During a weekly news conference with journalists, Ryan said the two sides made progress but that more work was needed.
"There's no secret that Donald Trump and I have had our differences. We talked about those differences today," Ryan said. "I do believe we are planting the seeds in getting ourselves unified."
Trump gets conciliatory
After much bluster this past week that he doesn't need the party's support in order to win in November, Trump also struck a more conciliatory tone prior to the meeting.
"We can always have differences," he said. "If you agree on 70 percent, that's always a lot."
A failure of the presumptive candidate and the party to come together on a campaign platform will likely spell doom on Election Day. Coordinating resources and finances, between candidate and party, are critical for a presidential campaign to be competitive.
Trump actually held three meetings in Washington today, all aimed at trying to unify the party - but Ryan's support, as the GOP's highest elected leader, is the most important.
After Trump's meeting with Ryan, which also featured party chairman Reince Priebus as peace-maker, Trump and Ryan met with other senior House GOP leaders and then with GOP leaders in the Senate.
Charlie Dent, a moderate House Republican who was not in Thursday's meetings, told reporters the session with House leaders was "an opportunity to clear the air."
Trump "has to convince many Americans, including myself, that he's ready to lead this great nation," he said. "At this point I haven't been persuaded, but I'm ready to listen."
bik/kms (AP, Reuters, AFP)