Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Friday endorsed the re-election of House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.).
“In our shared mission to make America great again, I support and endorse our speaker of the House, Paul Ryan,” Trump told a crowd in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
“And while I’m at it, I hold in the highest esteem Sen. John McCain,” Trump said, “and I fully support and endorse his re-election.” He went on to endorse Ayotte, calling her “a rising star.”
Trump, who has been feuding with Republican leaders this week, on Friday described his intent to lead a “big tent” Republican Party. “Arm in arm, we will rescue the nation from the Obama-Clinton disaster,” he said.
The endorsement comes just three days after Trump told The Washington Post he was “not quite there yet” on supporting Ryan, who will face challenger Paul Nehlen in a primary on Tuesday.
Ryan endorsed Trump in early June, but only after publicly deliberating over the decision, telling reporters in May that he was “not quite there yet.” Trump’s refusal to endorse Ryan ― using Ryan’s own phrase ― was widely viewed as payback for the House speaker’s hesitation earlier this year.
“I like Paul, but these are horrible times for our country,” Trump told the 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.”
Ryan’s campaign shrugged off Trump’s comments, telling reporters, “Neither Speaker Ryan nor anyone on his team has ever asked for Donald Trump’s endorsement.”
But Ryan wasn’t the only Republican whom Trump refused to endorse. During the same interview, he also withheld support from McCain and Ayotte.
The interview set off a panic within GOP circles this week, and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus was said to be “furious” with Trump for further dividing the already fractured GOP.
Nehlen responded Friday to reports that Trump planned to endorse his opponent. “In stark contrast to Mr. Trump’s leadership on the issue of trade, Speaker Ryan will never abandon his globalist dedication to open borders, to bringing an endless stream of low-paid labor into the U.S., to selling-out the American worker, and to shipping Wisconsin’s factories to Asia with job-killing TPP,” he said.
This article has been updated to include Trump’s endorsements.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist