A day after Donald Trump laid bare the lingering divisions in the Republican Party by refraining from immediately endorsing Paul Ryan in his primary election, the GOP nominee's running mate said he stood behind the Speaker of the House.
“I strongly support Paul Ryan, strongly endorse his reelection,” Gov. Mike Pence told Fox News on Wednesday. “I believe we need Paul Ryan in leadership in the Congress of the United States to rebuild our military, to strengthen our economy and to ensure that we have the kind of leadership in this country that will make America great again.”
On Tuesday, Donald Trump caused a headache for party leaders when he took the extraordinary step of saying he was still deciding whether to endorse Ryan.
“I like Paul, but these are horrible times for our country,” Trump told the Washington 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.”
His words echoed Ryan's own from May, when the Speaker said he was "just not ready" to endorse Trump, who was then the presumptive Republican nominee.
Ryan has endorsed Trump but has repeatedly criticized him for his controversial comments.
Pence told Fox News he had a "longtime friendship" with Ryan, who introduced him at last month's Republican National Convention.
The Indiana governor said he had spoken with Trump earlier on Wednesday about announcing. "He strongly encouraged me to support Paul Ryan in next Tuesday's primary," Pence said.
"These are two men that are building a good relationship," he said. "And I'm very confident, after Donald Trump's elected president, Paul Ryan is reelected to Congress and as Speaker of the House, these two men are going to do great things to restore this country at home and abroad."