U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan turned to a sports analogy Tuesday in urging North Carolina delegates to unite behind Donald Trump.
“We have different teams we’re backing, but at the end of the day one of our teams goes to a big bowl game,” he said. “The point I’m trying to make is we started this year with ruptures. Let’s just realize that … we have got to unify to get it right to get this job done.”
Ryan appeared to aim his remarks at delegates who remain lukewarm or even opposed to Trump, the Republican Party’s presidential nominee. Ryan himself waited a month after Trump clinched the GOP nomination before endorsing him last month.
But Ryan, who only mentioned Trump’s name once in a 15-minute speech, said Trump is the only candidate who would support GOP initiatives. He recited a litany of such initiatives in areas such as tax reform, defense buildup and deregulation.
“I can tell you, Hillary Clinton doesn’t agree with any of this,” he said. “She’s not going to support any of these items. Donald Trump will. We’re at the point where this is a binary choice. And if you’re not voting for the Republican, then you are helping the Democrat.”
Ryan, who is scheduled to speak to the full convention Tuesday night, didn’t take questions but spent several minutes posing for pictures with delegates.
U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger, a delegate from Charlotte, echoed Ryan’s argument.
He said when Trump spoke to GOP lawmakers in Washington recently, the lawmakers gave him polite applause in welcome. By the time he left 45 minutes later, Pittenger said, most were convinced that he backed the full Republican agenda.