The Slatest

Paul Ryan Rationalizes Himself Into a Trump Endorsement

Speaker Paul Ryan during a news briefing after a House Republican Conference meeting May 11, 2016 on Capitol Hill

Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Speaker Paul Ryan has endorsed Donald Trump for president. He announced in a column for his local newspaper in which he said he would “vote” for Donald Trump, but no further parsing is necessary: His spokesperson says we are free to call this an “endorsement.”

Ryan’s justification is workmanlike: He and the Republican House have a lot of bills they would like a president to sign into law, and there is a greater chance that Donald Trump would sign these bills than there is that Hillary Clinton would.


“To enact these ideas, we need a Republican president willing to sign them into law,” Ryan writes. “That’s why, when he sealed the nomination, I could not offer my support for Donald Trump before discussing policies and basic principles.” So he and Trump set about talking.


But the House policy agenda has been the main focus of our dialogue. We’ve talked about the common ground this agenda can represent. We’ve discussed how the House can be a driver of policy ideas. We’ve talked about how important these reforms are to saving our country. And we’ve talked about how, by focusing on issues that unite Republicans, we can work together to heal the fissures developed through the primary.


Through these conversations, I feel confident he would help us turn the ideas in this agenda into laws to help improve people’s lives. That’s why I’ll be voting for him this fall.

Vote for a pen being in Republican hands! “It’s not just a choice of two people, but of two visions for America,” he concludes. And House Republicans are helping shape that Republican vision by offering a bold policy agenda, by offering a better way ahead. Donald Trump can help us make it a reality.”

This is correct. Republicans have a much higher chance of passing Republican legislation with a Republican in the White House. This is one of many reasons why Ryan was always going to fall in line. It’s an interesting time to jump on board, given Trump’s noxious last couple of news cycles. But there’s rarely an easy time to adjoin oneself to Donald Trump.