GREEN BAY, Wis. — Donald Trump endorsed Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan Friday at a campaign event in Wisconsin, just days after refusing to do so in the congressional primary.
At a rally in Green Bay, Trump said he “supported and endorsed” Ryan, flashing a smile and double thumbs up.
“Paul Ryan, good, good man, he’s a good man and he’s a good guy,” Trump said. “And we may disagree on a couple of things but mostly we agree and we’re going to get it done.”
The moment came and went without making a significant splash at the Green Bay rally. Though most of the crowd cheered, there was some isolated booing and people gesturing in disapproval. Later, Trump got bigger responses when he bashed Hillary Clinton's policies, when he promised to repeal Obamacare, and when he praised law enforcement.
"Our police men are great, great people," he said to one of the biggest cheers of a night that was marked by moderate energy levels and Trump reading from prepared remarks on a stapled packet of papers.
The endorsement marked a sharp reversal for Trump. On Tuesday, the Republican presidential nominee refused to endorse Ryan, using the speaker's own words against him.
“I like Paul, but these are horrible times for our country,” Trump told the Washington Post on Tuesday. “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.”
Trump told the Post that Ryan had sought his endorsement in his Wisconsin primary, but that he was still “giving it very serious consideration.”
However, Ryan’s spokesman Zack Roday denied they had sought Trump’s endorsement.
Back in May, Ryan told CNN he was “not ready” to endorse Trump, whom he has assailed several times for his controversial comments. Four weeks later Ryan endorsed Trump and presided over the Republican National Convention.
And hours before Trump's endorsement in Green Bay Friday, many of his supporters had told BuzzFeed News didn't actually want their candidate to endorse Ryan and other established Republicans. Roy Stumpf — a Green Bay resident who showed up in a Ross Perot shirt and hat — said Trump should "be himself" and "not endorse Ryan." Scott Nelezen, of Crivitz, Wisconsin, agreed that Trump didn't need to make a push for party unity.
"It doesn't matter," Nelezen told BuzzFeed News. "I don't think a lot of people in the party have been nice to him."
After the rally, most Trump supporters were unmoved by Trump's decision to endorse Ryan. Lyn Lade — a conservative-but-undecided voter from Oconto, Wisconsin — agreed with the endorsement and believed with boost the Republican's campaign. David Turk, a Trump supporter in town from Pendleton, Oregon, called the endorsement "politics and expected."
"He likes to push every body's buttons," Turk told BuzzFeed News, adding that he remains as committed as ever to the candidate.
However, Jim Fox, of Green Bay, disagreed with many others at the rally, calling Trump's endorsement of Ryan "hypocritical." Fox is only a reluctant Trump supporter and explained to BuzzFeed News that the nominee was his least favorite candidate of the once-crowded Republican field. He criticized both Trump and Ryan.
"Shame on both of them," Fox said. "Shame on Ryan for being a major operative for the Republican party and allowing it to get to this point. Trump is not our best candidate."
Still, Trump's endorsement notwithstanding, Fox's plans to for vote Trump were unchanged after the rally.
"I absolutely won't vote for Hillary," he said. "We won't survive with Hillary."
Watch the endorsement
Adolfo Flores is a national security correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles. He focuses on immigration.
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Jim Dalrymple is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
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