Trump endorses Paul Ryan, John McCain at Wisconsin rally

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...

Trump Endorses Speaker Ryan, Sen. John McCain at Wisconsin Rally

GREEN BAY, Wisc. — Donald Trump endorsed House Speaker Paul Ryan and Sen. John McCain on Friday, ending the latest episode in a months-long feud at a rally in Green Bay.

SEE ALSO: Police release shocking video of 18-year-old's death

"We will have disagreements, but we will disagree as friends and never stop working together toward victory, and more importantly toward real change," Trump said. "So in our shared mission to make America great again, I support and endorse our speaker of the House Paul Ryan."

"He's a good man," Trump said. Trump also endorsed McCain and Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire. "Arm-in-arm, we will rescue the nation from the Obama-Clinton disaster," Trump said.

See politicians who refuse to support Trump:

Politicians who refuse to support Donald Trump
See Gallery
Politicians who refuse to support Donald Trump
ABC NEWS - 7/20/16 - Coverage of the 2016 Republican National Convention from the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, which airs on all ABC News programs and platforms. (Photo by Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty Images) SEN. TED CRUZ
Former Republican U.S. presidential nominee Mitt Romney speaks critically about current Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and the state of the 2016 Republican presidential campaign during a speech at the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah March 3, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
Former President George W. Bush campaigns for his brother Republican presidential candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, listens to an audience question during a town hall event hosted by CNN at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina, U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016. Donald Trump remains the front-runner in South Carolina, where Republican voters head to the polls on Saturday. According to a survey released Monday by Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling, Trump holds a 17-point lead over Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, who are tied for second place. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
ROCKVILLE, MD - APRIL 25: Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Governor John Kasich speaks during a campaign event April 25, 2016 in Rockville, Maryland. Governor Kasich continued to seek for his party's nomination for the general election. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 10: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) speaks with reporters before a weekly policy meeting with Senate Republicans, at the U.S. Capitol, May 10, 2016, in Washington, DC. Presidential candidate Donald Trump is scheduled meet with Republican House and Senate leadership on Thursday. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
CNBC EVENTS -- The Republican Presidential Debate: Your Money, Your Vote -- Pictured: George Pataki participates in CNBC's 'Your Money, Your Vote: The Republican Presidential Debate' live from the University of Colorado Boulder in Boulder, Colorado Wednesday, October 28th at 6PM ET / 8PM ET -- (Photo by: David A. Grogan/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Former U.S. President George H. W. Bush smiles while wearing a pink shirt to raise breast cancer awareness on the sidelines of the Houston Texans versus New York Giants NFL football game in Houston October 10, 2010. REUTERS/Richard Carson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Trump's decision to endorse Ryan marked a rare change of heart for Trump, who's become known for digging in on insulting his opponents and critics, and infrequently admits a mistake.

But the endorsement was more of a boon for Trump than Ryan, Wisconsin Republicans said, as Trump's decision to snub the candidate hurt his profile both in Wisconsin and nationwide.

Trump's initial refusal to endorse in an interview with the Washington Post earlier this week — in which Trump also praised Ryan's primary challenger, Paul Nehlen — sparked fresh questions over Trump's viability in the race. Some critics and political pundits wondered this week whether Trump might end up dropping out of the race, as his poll numbers plummeted in key states.

SEE ALSO: Former KKK leader more popular than one 2016 candidate

Earlier Friday Ryan brushed off speculation Trump would need to be replaced on the ballot and said it was his "duty" to uphold the results of the GOP primary. But Trump's move drew a heavy rebuke from Wisconsin Republicans, with Wisconsin House Speaker Robin Vos saying he was "embarrassed" to have Trump as the nominee in an op-ed published Friday.

In it, Vos warned that, "If Donald Trump wants to have a chance to win in November, he should start following Paul Ryan's lead, not criticizing him," and suggested that Wisconsin's activists and operatives would be reluctant to work or vote for Trump if he kept up the feud with Ryan.

In an interview, Vos said he had no indication whether Trump had read his op-ed, but said it was "definitely possible" that Trump's opposition to Ryan could hurt him in the state in November.

"Paul Ryan's support is so wide and so deep that Donald Trump wading in on the other side made no political sense," he said.

While Republicans hold a majority in both chambers of the state legislature, and most of the state's statewide elected officeholders are Republican, the GOP hasn't won the state in a presidential year in more than 30 years, and this year initially looked like their best shot at turning the tide. To win, however, Trump will need to play in Ryan's district, which encompasses all or parts of five of the state's top 10 most populous counties. Three of those five went for Romney last cycle, when he lost the vote by 7 points.

Republicans in the state say Trump will have to boost turnout beyond what Romney achieved in those populous, deep-red counties in the Milwaukee suburbs, and those are populated with Republicans that traditionally pose a challenge for Trump: Upper-middle-class, college-educated white voters. Indeed, Trump lost the district during the primary to Ted Cruz by 19 points.

And dismissing the area's congressman — who's viewed favorably by 84 percent of the district's Republicans and independent-leaning voters, according to a recent Marquette Law U poll — was unlikely to win him many fans in the district.

As Brendan Scholz, a GOP lobbyist and former state party executive director put it, the state's voters don't like being treated "like we're second-rate."

"It's like we're second rate. He smacks us and then he wants our help — seriously? If you beat me up, you punch me in the face, I'm not just going to take it," he said.

Read Full Story

People are Reading