WASHINGTON — Donald Trump is expected to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan on Friday, moving to mend an intra-party rift that has put the Republican presidential nominee at odds with its highest-ranking elected official.
Trump’s endorsement of Ryan would come at an 8 p.m. ET rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, two sources said.
The move comes just days ahead of Ryan’s Tuesday primary matchup with challenger Paul Nehlen, who has played up Trump’s refusal to back the speaker — as well as Ryan’s tepid support for Trump.
A Ryan aide said: “We have no knowledge of this and it’s a question for their campaign.”
Trump had balked at endorsing Ryan on Tuesday in an interview with The Washington Post — a move that intensified concerns about his presidential campaign within the GOP as Trump already faced controversy over his criticism over the weekend of the parents of an American soldier killed in combat.
Ryan told WTMJ’s Charlie Sykes, a Wisconsin talk radio host, on Friday morning that he hadn’t spoken with Trump since the Republican convention ended last month.
Ryan, who withheld his own endorsement of Trump for weeks after Trump had clinched the party’s nomination, deflected Sykes’ questions about whether he might withdraw that support.
“I’m not going to get into any hypotheticals,” he said. “I see no purpose in doing this tit for tat petty back and forth with Donald Trump cause it serves no good purpose in my mind.”
Ryan had dismissed the importance of a Trump endorsement Friday morning in another local radio interview with WISN’s Jay Weber.
“I’m not going to try and psychoanalyze this stuff,” the House speaker told Weber. “Honestly the endorsement, personally the ones that I care about are the ones from the people here in Wisconsin, my first congressional district employers. So you know I’m just going to rise above this stuff, and I’m not going to get involved in some sort of petty back and forth, I see no purpose in doing that.”
Trump surrogate Ben Carson told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in a Friday interview that he believes Trump “will come on board” with Ryan, though he did not specify when.