WASHINGTON: Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Tuesday won the endorsement of a senior politician his party’s establishment was trying to pitch against him, Speaker Paul Ryan.
The Wisconsin Republican, who is the speaker of the US House of Representatives, told a news briefing in Washington that he hopes Mr Trump would get the party’s nomination in July when the delegates meet to select the new candidate.
“I hope it is Donald Trump. He’s getting the nomination,” Speaker Ryan, the highest-ranking elected Republican in America, told reporters at a news conference.
Earlier on Tuesday, NBC News and Survey Monkey released the results of an online poll, showing that nearly six in 10 Republican voters “trust” Mr Trump and would vote for him on Nov 6, when America elects a new president.
Only four in 10 voters said they had more faith in Mr Ryan, the 2012 vice presidential nominee, as the party’s leader.
Asked if he believed Mr Trump should be the Republican party leader, Mr Ryan said: “Good Lord, I hope it is, because the person who is getting the nomination is the person to lead our party.”
Earlier this week, the speaker had a two-hour meeting Mr Trump in Washington, and both came out, praising each other.
When asked about a New York Times report claiming that Mr Trump mistreated women in private, Speaker Ryan said he would not get dragged into the “day-to-day, up and down of this campaign … I’m focused on policies and principles and unifying our party.”
Earlier in the primary race, he had blasted Mr Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the country as “unconstitutional,” and urged him to control violence at some campaign rallies.
Political observers in Washington say that the speaker’s endorsement not only improves Mr Trump’s chance of winning over the nomination but also help him in the election.