Trump endorses Ryan, senators in effort to right campaign ship
GREEN BAY, WIS./WASHINGTON – Republican Donald Trump acted to steer his White House campaign back into favor with his party’s establishment on Friday by endorsing US House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan and two Republican senators seeking re-election, after expressing coolness toward them earlier this week.
“I need a Republican Senate and a House to accomplish all of the changes that we have to make,” Trump said during a rally in Green Bay, in northern Wisconsin, Ryan’s home state. He also endorsed Senators John McCain of Arizona and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, calling Ayotte a “rising star.”
“We will have disagreements, but we will disagree as friends,” Trump said,
Trump earlier this week refused to endorse Ryan, telling The Washington Post he was “not quite there yet” – nearly the same phrase Ryan had used about Trump before finally endorsing him. Trump said in the same interview that McCain had not done enough for veterans and criticized Ayotte for distancing herself from him during the campaign.
Ryan, the top U.S. elected Republican, had no plans to attend the Wisconsin event, a sign of lingering frictions between the pair, even though Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, did endorse him. Ryan’s Republican primary challenger, businessman Paul Nehlen, did attend, according to a spokesman.
Ryan is expected to win the challenge for his House seat in next week’s Republican primary, and he is viewed by many Republicans as a possible presidential candidate in the future. The tension between Ryan and Trump caused deep frustration among party leaders and lawmakers.
Trump’s endorsement came as one of several steps to get his campaign back on track after days of controversy and falling poll numbers that have given Democrat Hillary Clinton the advantage in the race to the Nov. 8 election.
In the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Friday, Clinton’s lead over Trump narrowed to less than 3 percentage points, down from nearly 8 points on Monday.
Trump said on Friday he wanted a “big tent” party with multiple viewpoints welcome. He said he was endorsing the Republican lawmakers due to their “shared mission to make America great again.”
Trump also announced a new advisory team to help guide him on economic policy. The group relies heavily on hedge fund managers and investment bankers, a group Trump has railed against. There are no women on the team.
Trump plans to release his economic policy framework in a speech in Detroit on Monday, an event that will offer him a chance to avoid theatrics and detail how he would handle economic issues if elected.