WASHINGTON, June 17 (UPI) -- House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a pre-taped interview to air Sunday that Republican lawmakers should follow their "conscience" in deciding whether to endorse Donald Trump.
Ryan, who waited several weeks to endorse Trump himself, said he feels an obligation to the party as the highest GOP officeholder in the country, to join hands with the party's presumptive nominee, but understands if fellow Republicans refuse to do so out of disagreement with some of Trump's comments on race and religion.
"The last thing I would do is tell anybody to do something that's contrary to their conscience. Of course I wouldn't do that," Ryan said. "I get that this a very strange situation. [Trump is] a very unique nominee. But I feel as a responsibility institutionally as the speaker of the House that I should not be leading some chasm in the middle of our party. Because you know what I know that'll do? That'll definitely knock us out of the White House."
The full interview with Ryan is set to air Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press.
Ryan reiterated in his weekly Capitol Hill press conference on Wednesday he will continue to support Trump, but will also speak publicly in defense of conservative principles -- whether those beliefs align with Trump's proposals or not.
"We don't agree on that, everybody knows that," Ryan said, when asked about Trump's call to ban Muslims from entering the country. "You also know that if I'm asked a question I'm going to answer it honestly. If I'm asked a question about a proposal I don't agree with, I'm going to say I don't agree with it. It's just that simple."