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Paul Ryan: GOP will 'make it work' with Donald Trump

By Eric DuVall   |   Updated March 17, 2016 at 2:08 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 17 (UPI) -- House Speaker Paul Ryan says congressional Republicans will "make it work" with Donald Trump if he wins the party's presidential nomination.

Speaking to CNBC on Thursday, Ryan, R-Wis., said he will defend conservative principles during the general election.

"We'll make it work if it happens," Ryan said. "I'm going to speak my mind. I'm going to defend conservatism as I understand it. I'm going to defend our ideas as the Republican Party. But we're going to have to work with whoever our nominee is."

After racking up several victories on Super Tuesday, Trump mentioned Ryan, the party's 2012 vice presidential nominee, by name, suggesting the speaker had better get behind his campaign or the two would find themselves at odds. On Thursday, Ryan said he would do what it takes to make what has, at times, been a difficult relationship between Trump and the Republican establishment more workable.

Asked by CNBC's John Harwood whether Ryan would consider accepting the party's nomination at a brokered convention in Cleveland this summer, Ryan did not explicitly rule it out, but a spokeswoman later clarified to the network Ryan would, in fact, turn down the nomination if delegates attempted to nominate him following a deadlocked first ballot.

Later, in an interview on Fox News, Ryan said the likelihood of a contested GOP convention was becoming "more likely" based on how the election is going.

"Nothing has changed other than the perception that this is more likely to become an open convention than we thought before," Ryan said. "So, we're getting our minds around the idea that this could very well become a reality, and therefore those of us who are involved in the convention need to respect that."

Ryan, who is chairman of the Republican convention, declared his neutrality in who becomes the nominee, calling himself "Switzerland."

He again addressed the possibility he would become the nominee if a contested convention deadlocked over the present candidates.

Ryan told Fox News: "It's not going to be me. It should be somebody running for president."

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