Trump’s lack of support within the Republican party, especially from elected officials who will also facing voters in November, has come as a striking rebuke to his candidacy.
Many expected Trump to be more effusive in his efforts to court party elders. Instead, he has indicated he considers it their obligation to come to him. Neither side is yet willing to give ground.
Still, the billionaire has consistently predicted that a Trump presidency would unite both the Republican party and the nation.
“This country, which is divided in so many ways, is going to become one beautiful, loving country,” , his long string of controversial remarks about Muslims, Hispanic people and women notwithstanding.
Trump did concede in interviews broadcast on Sunday that he was surprised last week when Ryan declined to offer support. Trump told NBC that after his win in the New York primary two weeks earlier, the speaker called to congratulate him.
“Then all of a sudden he gets on and he does this number,” he said. “So I’m not exactly sure what he has in mind.”
Ryan’s turnaround is emblematic of the crisis engulfing the GOP as it weighs the opportunities and pitfalls of supporting its populist, anti-establishment candidate.
If the party supports Trump, it risks damaging its standing in influential sectors of the electorate and losing any semblance of ideological cohesion.