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Trump Endorses Paul Ryan, John McCain and Kelly Ayotte in Their Primary Races

Image: Trump Endorses Paul Ryan, John McCain and Kelly Ayotte in Their Primary Races

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By    |   Friday, 05 Aug 2016 09:15 PM

Donald Trump Friday endorsed House Speaker Paul Ryan and Sens. John McCain and Kelly Ayotte in their re-election primary races, citing the need for Republican unity and capping a tumultuous week that saw the presidential nominee and running mate Mike Pence split on their support for the House Republican leader.

"In our shared mission to make America great again, I support and endorse our Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan" Trump told supporters at a rally at the KI Convention Center in Green Bay, Wis. "Paul Ryan. He's a good man and he's a good guy.

"We may disagree on a couple of things — and mostly we agree," Trump said, reading from "something I wrote down" and amid cheers from the crowd. "We'll get it done and we'll do a lot of wonderful things.

"I hold in the highest esteem John McCain for his service to our country in uniform and in public office — and I fully support and endorse his re-election," Trump then said. "We'll work together.

"I fully support and endorse Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire," he continued. "A state I truly love, primarily because that was my first primary victory.

"She is a rising star and will continue to represent the great people of New Hampshire so very well for a long, long time."

Trump then sounded the theme of Republican unity in the quest to defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton in November.

"Working hand in hand, we will grow our majority in the House and in the Senate," he said. "We've got to get things done.

"We will rescue the nation from the Obama-Clinton disaster … that has bled our country dry and spread terrorism unabated across the world."

The endorsements came three days after Trump told The Washington Post that he would not support Ryan and McCain, who represents Arizona — and attacked Ayotte for not being loyal, even though he had won the Granite State in the primaries.

Ryan, 46, was first elected to Congress in 1998 from Janesville, Wis. He was Mitt Romney's running mate in 2012.

In not endorsing Ryan, Trump mimicked the speaker's words from a CNN interview in May before Ryan reluctantly endorsed the nominee the following month on Twitter.

"I like Paul, but these are horrible times for our country," Trump told the Post. "We need very strong leadership.

"We need very, very strong leadership. And I’m just not quite there yet. I’m not quite there yet."

Instead, Trump endorsed Ryan's opponent, business executive Paul Nehlen. Wisconsin's Republican primary is on Tuesday.

But the next day, Pence announced that he was backing Ryan — telling Fox News that "he's a longtime friend."

He did not, however, endorse either McCain or Ayotte. The Arizona senator, 79, who is seeking his sixth term, has a primary also on Tuesday.

The primary election for Ayotte, 48, who is in her first term, is in September.

Ryan was not at Trump's Green Bay rally. Neither was Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, whom he defeated in the primaries, or Sen. Ron Johnson, who is facing his own re-election race.

Trump was immediately slammed for not endorsing the Republicans, particularly Ryan, and he has attacked McCain several times during the campaign, including his record as a POW in Vietnam.

The vitriol against Trump came on the heels of his criticizing the parents of a Muslim Army captain who died in Iraq in 2004 and as surveys showed that he was trailing Clinton nationally and in key swing states, by double digits in some cases.

For his part, Ryan said his Trump endorsement was not iron-clad.

"None of these things are ever blank checks," he told Green Bay radio host Jerry Bader on WTAQ on Thursday. "That goes with any situation in any kind of race."

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Donald Trump Friday endorsed House Speaker Paul Ryan and Sens. John McCain and Kelly Ayotte in their re-election primary races, citing the need for Republican unity and capping a tumultuous week that saw the presidential nominee and running mate Mike Pence split on...
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2016-15-05
Friday, 05 Aug 2016 09:15 PM
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