Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos… Lindsey Graham, who once destroyed his cell phone after Donald Trump publicly revealed his phone number, announced that he had a “cordial” phone conversation with Trump yesterday to discuss national security . This time, however, we assume Graham made the call from a payphone outside an Applebee’s in Columbia, SC.
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‘16 from 30,000
This morning, our big sib publication First Read wrote that there were three big questions going into the big meeting between Donald Trump and Paul Ryan. Those questions were: 1) Will Ryan endorse Trump? 2) Does Ryan remain the chair of the GOP convention? And 3) Is Ryan making a play beyond November? After a frenetic day of coverage of the meeting, it’s fair to say that we don’t know the answers yet, but we got some decent signs of what might be to come.
Ryan made clear that he’s not endorsing Trump right now, saying multiple times that he was “encouraged” by the meeting but that the unity process “takes some time.” But he also said the relationship between the two men is “going in a positive direction.” Ryan also indicated, as he has before, that he would “honor the decision” of the nominee if he wanted Ryan to step aside from his role as convention chair, although he seemed to indicate Trump was happy to have him on board for the job. And on Ryan’s future ambitions? We don’t know exactly how all this will play out yet, but it’s fair to say that Ryan’s slow-walking to a Trump endorsement could provide him some cover later on if Trump goes down in flames and Ryan wants to pick up the pieces.
Bottom line: Paul Ryan isn’t stepping through the endorsement door yet, but he also certainly doesn’t seem to be positioning himself to lead one side of an intra-party war that would last until November. Plus, when even James Baker and Lindsey Graham are making at least half-hearted movements towards workable relationships with Trump, the name of the game here seems to be putting Humpty-Dumpty back together again when it comes to the fractured GOP.
POPPING ON NBC POLITICS
- Here’s your roundup from Donald Trump’s meeting with Paul Ryan and visit to Washington.
- The two Republican leaders are still far apart, MSNBC’s Benjy Sarlin writes.
- Bernie Sanders may be heading into the Golden State hobbled, MSNBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald reports.
- NBC’s Perry Bacon reports on why Republicans on Capitol Hill are wary of Donald Trump.
- Lindsey Graham and Donald Trump spoke. But it definitely wasn’t an endorsement.
- And from First Read: Here were the big questions heading into the Trump/Ryan meeting.
FOR THE RECORD…
“I will do what I can in the Senate to help the next president. The next president will inherit a mess.”
- Lindsey Graham in a statement after speaking with Donald Trump by phone.
Bill Clinton campaigns for his wife in New Jersey.
Bernie Sanders is in North Dakota.