Donald Trump and Paul Ryan hold “encouraging’ meeting

Republican congressional leader and the presumptive nominee put party unity over their differences

Trump arrives for his meeting with Congressional leader Ryan in Washington.
Trump arrives for his meeting with Congressional leader Ryan in Washington.BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI (AFP)
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Donald Trump y Paul Ryan se unen para derrotar a Hillary Clinton

Republican presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump and Paul Ryan, the speaker of Congress, have put their ideological differences aside and agreed to work together to defeat Hillary Clinton in the upcoming November 8 elections.

“While we were honest about our few differences, we recognize that there are also many important areas of common ground,” read a statement issued on Thursday by the pair, who have only met once before, briefly.

Ryan has still declined to formally endorse Trump but said their conversation was “encouraging”.

“The United States cannot afford another four years of Obama in the White House, which is what Hillary Clinton represents,” read their joint statement.

Since Trump established himself as the likely Republican nominee, Ryan has been among his staunchest opponents within the party

The 45-minute meeting between Ryan and Trump was also attended by Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus. Afterwards, Ryan told reporters it was the first step toward uniting the party but that further meetings would be required. Trump also talked face to face with Senate leaders.

Since Trump established himself as the likely Republican nominee, Ryan has been among his staunchest opponents within the party, criticizing his insults to Muslims and women, as well as his friendliness toward racist groups.

Stick to the script, or ad-lib?

Sometimes Donald Trump says he wants to raise taxes on the rich; sometimes he says he wants to lower them. He proposes increasing the minimum wage, but says American workers are paid too much. He has said women who have abortions should be punished, and then backtracks. He says he will be presidential, and then launches bitter personal attacks on his rivals and allies alike. He suggests he will soften his remarks regarding Muslims and be more conciliatory toward Republicans, while at the same time saying he owes the party nothing and that voters like his irreverent style. Despite the contradictions, Donald Trump looks set to win the nomination of a party that has traditionally imposed a rigid ideological will on its candidates and representatives. Obviously, there is a problem here.

Ryan is a traditional Republican who favors cutting back government assistance, free markets and defends interventionist foreign policies. Trump, a novice politician who has proved difficult to classify, disagrees with Ryan on spending cuts, tax policy and has called for protective tariffs. Similarly, the two men’s approach to public speaking could not be more different: where Trump is brash, Ryan is low-key.

What brings them together is their interest in uniting the party. Trump needs widespread Republican support to help him mobilize voters and raise money. Ryan fears the growing schism could hurt Republican members of Congress who are up for re-election on November 8. Republicans currently hold a majority in both houses.

And both want to defeat Clinton, the frontrunner in the Democratic primaries race. A divided Republican Party would virtually guarantee a third Democratic term in the White House after Obama’s eight years, something that has not happened since 1940.

English version by Nick Lyne.

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