Ryan says Republicans should follow
'conscience' on Trump
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[June 18, 2016]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican
lawmakers should follow their conscience on whether to support Donald
Trump in November's presidential election, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan
has said in an interview, reflecting the party's unease over its White
"The last thing I would do is tell anybody to do something that's
contrary to their conscience. Of course I wouldn't do that," the
Republicans' most senior elected official said in excerpts released
on Friday of an NBC interview set to air on Sunday.
Some Republican leaders and lawmakers in the House of
Representatives are struggling to get behind the New York
businessman, who last month became the party's presumptive nominee
for the Nov. 8 election.
After an initial delay, Ryan has said he will back Trump but he has
also acknowledged deep differences with him. He denounced as
textbook racism Trump's criticism of a Mexican-American judge and
has also criticized Trump's proposal - reiterated after the massacre
of 49 people in a gay bar in Orlando on Sunday - to temporarily bar
Muslims from the United States.
As Republicans seek to keep control of both chambers of Congress,
Trump's comments on such issues have also worried some lawmakers
concerned about their own election prospects, particularly in close
races. All 247 House Republican seats are up for grabs in the
Trump, who has welcomed support from Ryan, this week fired back at
Republican leaders, telling them to stop speaking out against him or
else risk him potentially running "by myself."
Ryan said earlier this week at his weekly press conference that he
does not plan to withdraw his support of Trump, although they
disagree on some key issues.
"I feel as a responsibility institutionally as the speaker of the
House that I should not be leading some chasm in the middle of our
party. Because you know what I know that'll do? That'll definitely
knock us out of the White House," Ryan said in the interview for
NBC's "Meet the Press" program.
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U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) waits to meet India's Prime
Minister Narendra Modi (not pictured), before Modi speaks at a joint
meeting of Congress in the House Chamber in Capitol Hill,
Washington, U.S., June 8, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Trump's embrace this week of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender community and potential gun control measures, in
contrast to general Republican orthodoxy have also thrown
Still, Republican leaders have to reconcile their unease with the
fact that primary Republican voters opted for Trump. He has never
held elected office before but won more than enough delegates to
secure the party's nomination at the Republican convention in July.
(Writing by Susan Heavey; Additional reporting by Meg Garner;
Editing by Frances Kerry)
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