House Speaker Paul Ryan is standing behind his pledge to support whoever becomes the Republican nominee for president a day after condemning the violence at Donald Trump’s rallies.
“My position hasn’t changed on that,” Ryan told reporters on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.
Ryan’s criticism about the tone at Trump’s political events in a radio interview on Monday was the third time he has singled out the Republican presidential front-runner for actions he believed could damage the party.
But the speaker, who is effectively the face of his party until it coalesces around a nominee, argued his ability to impact the presidential race was limited.
“The Republican primary voters are going to make this decision. This is not our decision to make,” Ryan said.
As House speaker, Ryan will preside over the GOP convention in Cleveland in July and has avoided weighing in on the developments in the national race.
But Ryan repeated his call for Trump and other political candidates to tone down the heated rhetoric on the campaign trail.
“All candidates have an obligation to do what they can do to try and provide an atmosphere of harmony, to reduce the violence, to not incite violence and to make sure that we are appealing to people on their best ideals, that we are going to unite the country around ideas,” Ryan said.
Ryan reiterated that his primary focus is developing an agenda to provide the eventual GOP nominee with detailed policies to run on in the general election later this year.
“What we can control is who we are and what we do here in the House,” Ryan said.
He said after telephone conversations last week about the effort to finalize a platform, “We got very good reception from all four of the candidates, including Trump.”