WASHINGTON — Donald Trump said he was “blindsided” by House Speaker Paul Ryan’s announcement earlier this week that he was not yet ready to support the presumptive Republican nominee.
“Yeah, I was blindsided a little bit, because he spoke to me three weeks ago, and it was a very nice call, a very encouraging call,” Trump told NBC News’ Chuck Todd in an interview set to air Sunday on “Meet the Press.” “He called me, I think, to congratulate me about New York, ’cause I won by massive numbers.”
An excerpt of the interview was released late Saturday afternoon.
Trump added that he has “a nice relationship” with Ryan, though he told Todd he doesn’t know him well and met him only one time.
“But I have a nice relationship with him. And then all of a sudden, he gets on and he does this number. So I’m not exactly sure what he has in mind. But that’s OK,” Trump said.
Ryan sent shockwaves through the political establishment Thursday when he told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he’s “just not ready” to support Trump, making him the highest-level GOP official to reject the real estate magnate since he became the last candidate standing in the party’s nominating contest.
Trump and Ryan are due to meet Thursday on Capitol Hill, where Trump also is due to meet with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and top congressional Republicans in an effort to unify a Republican Party that’s becoming increasing fractured now that Trump is the party’s standard-bearer.
In perhaps a preview of the message he intends to deliver to Ryan, Trump told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos Friday that he doesn’t need to earn Ryan’s support.
“I’m gonna say, ‘Look, this is what the people want,'” Trump told Stephanopoulos.
Trump softened his tone on Ryan while speaking at a campaign event in Spokane, Washington, on Saturday.
“I think Paul Ryan will be fine, and if he’s not, that’s OK,” Trump said, adding that he believes if Ryan had it to do over again, he’d simply endorse Trump rather than face backlash from GOP voters and some elected officials for rejecting the party’s presumptive nominee.