MUKWONAGO, Wis. (AP) — House Speaker Paul Ryan and Donald Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, joined Saturday in a gesture of Republican unity at a rally in Wisconsin’s most conservative county, a month after Ryan said he would no longer defend or campaign with Trump.
Both Pence and Ryan said it was time for Republicans to “come home” and vote for Trump. Pence heaped praise on Ryan, calling him a friend and great conservative leader, just days after he declined to say whether Ryan should be re-elected speaker.
Both are possible White House hopefuls in the future. Another potential 2020 contender, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, also came to the rally. The governor warmed to the divisive nominee after dropping his own presidential campaign.
Pence and Ryan hugged before being joined by Walker and others.
Pence called Ryan a friend who as speaker would help Trump enact his agenda as president.
“Paul Ryan is one of the great conservative leaders in America and Wisconsin should be proud,” Pence said.
Ryan’s awkward relationship with Trump hit a low point a month ago when the speaker canceled Trump’s appearance at what was to be a Republican unity rally in Wisconsin. That followed the disclosure of a 2005 video in which Trump made crude comments about imposing himself on women. Ryan, who was booed at that event, said then he would not defend or campaign with the nominee.
The only booing Saturday was directed at Hillary Clinton. Ryan told the crowd he voted early for Trump “because it is time to come home and go out and vote.” Ryan said free speech, gun rights and health care are at stake.
“When Donald Trump says that he wants a special session to repeal and replace Obamacare, let me tell you as speaker of the House we are ready, we are willing and we have a plan to do that,” Ryan said. “But that only happens if we win this election.”
Saturday’s rally was in deeply Republican Waukesha County.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.