Paul Ryan reaffirms support for Trump, critiques campaign


House Speaker Paul Ryan stood by his endorsement of Donald Trump Thursday, but didn't rule out withdrawing it at some point in the future should he deem that necessary.

Trump claimed in the Post interview that Ryan had sought his endorsement, which he was only giving "very serious consideration". John McCain, two of the party's most powerful members.

The speaker also shrugged off Trump saying earlier this week he wasn't "there yet" on endorsing Ryan in his upcoming primary next Tuesday.

Asked about Paul Nehlen, his primary opponent, who is telling voters that the speaker is aligned with Clinton, Ryan didn't mention him by name, but said he is "making stuff up to try and make it stick".

Trump's failure to back McCain is not surprising to most, since they don't enjoy a good political relationship - but it may be somewhat of a slap to Ryan, who has already endorsed Trump for president. The couple appeared at the Democratic National Convention, where Khizr Khan spoke emotionally against Trump's call for a ban on Muslims entering the country.

"We need loyal people in this country", Trump added in the interview.

Nehlen responded to Trump tweeting, "My pleasure, sir".

Trump's views of Muslims in the US have reemerged as a campaign issue since Khizr Khan, the father of a slain US Muslim soldier, took the stage at the Democratic convention last week, and have led to turmoil inside the GOP and his own campaign. We need very, very strong leadership.

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Ayotte, facing a tough re-election battle in New Hampshire, also has spoken out harshly against Trump, saying she was "appalled" by his attacks on the Khans whose son was killed in Iraq.

Trump previewed some hostility toward Ryan in a tweet praising Nehlen on Monday after the businessman praised Trump and recently tweeted articles and comments supporting the GOP nominee.

Manafort quickly tried to correct himself, laughing as co-hosts Norah O'Donnell, Gayle King and Charlie Rose asked about rumors that Trump could bow out of the election.

"I can not emphasize enough how deeply I disagree with Mr. Trump's statement", McCain said. "I am absolutely suggesting we figure out how do we, we - here's what we should be doing".

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

He did admit "there's a conflict within the Trump campaign", but insisted that Trump "is going to support Paul Ryan".

One Republican congressman predicted that Trump's criticisms would backfire and harm the nominee rather than Ryan, given the speaker's support among House Republicans, many of whom are lukewarm about backing the controversial real estate mogul.