House Speaker Paul Ryan had little choice but to endorse Donald Trump's presidential campaign, as "you can't have a general election where you've got a speaker at war with the presidential nominee of his own party," Rep. Tom Cole said Friday.
"He is the leader of the Republican Party in the House of Representatives," the Oklahoma Republican told MSNBC's "Morning Joe"
program, one day after Ryan tweeted his plans
to in a decision that came almost a month after Trump became the presumptive GOP nominee. "His principal job is to preserve that majority and to advance its agenda and I think that's exactly what he's doing.
Ryan, said Cole, "respected the choice of the voters of his own party. You know, he made it clear that he had some concerns, he worked through those concerns with the nominee and he issued an endorsement. I think it's really pretty simple. He did the right thing."
He continued that there was "certainly some pressure" for Ryan to endorse Trump, even while some other Republicans probably won't, but the "vast majority of the Republican Party would expect the Republican speaker to endorse the Republican nominee."
Cole, though, said he would advise Trump to pivot more toward a general election rule and to back away from his call for a temporary ban on Muslims.
"It's clearly unconstitutional and ill-advised," said Cole. "It would really hurt the United States. We need a lot of Muslim friends to deal with what we're dealing with overseas ... we ought to recognize that and be sensitive. So I think maybe being a little bit more nuanced in how you address things would be good advice for any candidate."
Show co-host Mika Brzezinski
and NBC's Chuck Todd, though, disagreed about whether Ryan had a choice in the matter.
Brzezinski said that she wants to hear exactly why Ryan agreed to support Trump.
"I want to hear it; I'm all for it," she said. "I'm all for those meaningful conversations leading to something, and hearing something really good from Donald Trump about what exactly he's going to do to lead the party forward or help make America great begin. Tell me what it was, Paul Ryan, because you just sold out."
Todd, though, said that he does not believe Ryan, as speaker of the House, had any choice in the matter.
"When you showed that video literally when he said, 'well, Hillary Clinton is not going to sign these bills,' and then he like swallows hard and then says 'Donald Trump,' I mean, you actually could see him swallow before he said the words," said Todd.
But Todd said he is not so sure that if Ryan would have endorsed Trump if he were still just a congressman.
"The speaker of the House had no choice," said Todd. "If he was going to not endorse him, then it was probably his duty to do whatever it took to prevent Trump from getting the nomination. At this point, he's got that kind of leadership position in the party ... as a leader of the political party, the voters chose [Trump]. If he [Ryan] wanted to stay a Republican he really had no choice."
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