Fox News reports that Trump will endorse Ryan at a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on Friday evening. This will be something of a turnaround for Trump, who when asked about the possibility of an endorsement earlier this week passive-aggressively said he is “not quite there yet.”
Ryan is in a primary battle against Paul Nehlen, a motorcycle-riding whack job who wants to deport all Muslims and is being supported by Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin. Earlier this week, it was reported that some of Trump’s former aides were helping Nehlen’s campaign.
Trump’s refusal to endorse Ryan (and John McCain and Kelly Ayotte) revived the storyline that Trump has started a civil war within the GOP. His endorsement is clearly meant to put out that fire, or at least to try to move the conversation elsewhere. (It’s worth pointing out that, despite dragging his feet, Ryan did tepidly endorse Trump.)
If history is any judge, Trump’s endorsement will mostly be negging, or talking about Trump. Donald Trump does not do full-throated endorsements. And no matter what Mike Pence says, the distance between Ryan and Trump is very real. Furthermore, Ryan doesn’t even need the endorsement; he is leading Nehlen by 66 points. This is an endorsement that only serves one purpose: to try to stop a narrative that has dominated the last year of Republican politics. It probably won’t.