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Trump Endorses Paul Ryan At Green Bay Rally

Endorsement Ends Standoff Between GOP Leaders

Evan Vucci/AP Photo

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump used a campaign event Friday night in Green Bay to officially endorse U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan in his Wisconsin primary race.

The endorsement on Ryan’s home turf ends an awkward, days-long standoff between the high-ranking Republicans. Earlier this week, Trump drew the ire of party leaders when he said he wasn’t ready to throw his support behind Ryan and even complimented his GOP primary opponent in the 1st Congressional District, businessman Paul Nehlen.

But reading from a prepared statement Friday, Trump told a crowd of an estimated 3,000 people in Green Bay, “In our shared mission to make America great again, I support and endorse our speaker of the House, Paul Ryan.”

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While this scuffle is the latest in a series of disagreements between Trump and Ryan that have resonated on the national political stage, the endorsement is likely to have less impact locally. Ryan is expected to win the Aug. 9 primary vote handily.

Aside from the unexpected gesture toward party unity — which also include endorsements of U.S. Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire — Trump used the Wisconsin appearance to reiterate many of the familiar campaign themes. He spoke for more than an hour, blasting his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, while promising to build a border wall with Mexico, and combat terrorism.

Trump also made an effort to play to the hometown crowd, saying, “Your football team’s going to have a great year, I watch, I watch.”

Ed Hudak of Neenah was in the crowd and said he got a good, more nuanced impression of the candidate.

“In person much better than on television, quite frankly, because I heard the whole message rather than having it edited, so I appreciated that,” Hudak said. “I feel like I have a better understanding of what his positions are.”

Outside the venue, a small group of protesters wielded anti-Trump signs. Lu Sheldon of Manitowoc was holding one that read, “Woman Vet Against Trump.”

Sheldon said she’s disturbed by Trump’s treatment of Khizr and Ghazala Khan whose son, Cpt. Humayan Khan was killed in Iraq.

“I am a woman veteran. I spent nine years in the Navy. The Donald has no idea what’s going on with the military,” she said. “For him to say our military is weak is very disturbing to me because we have such a huge military.”

Clinton’s running mate, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, was also in Wisconsin Friday, stumping for votes at a Milwaukee brewery.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional reporting from the event in Green Bay.

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