House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) faced tough questioning here Friday for his decision to endorse Donald Trump, and he tried to explain to an audience hostile to the New York mogul the factors that led him to back the presumptive GOP nominee.
Ryan’s appearance briefly brought into the open the issue that has shadowed the annual ideas summit hosted by 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney — the alarm with which many establishment Republicans view Trump’s pending nomination and the potential damage it could do to the party in November and beyond.
Ryan’s closed-door session — attended by about 300 elite Republican donors and business executives — also highlighted his differences with his friend and ally, Romney, who tapped him as his vice-presidential running mate and is now an avowed leader of the Never Trump movement.
Campbell Brown, a former CNN anchor and founder of the education news site the74.org, moderated the session with Ryan and grilled him about his decision. She told him that her young son, who knows and admires Ryan, came into the bedroom the morning after he had announced his support for Trump dismayed by the news.
How would you explain this to a child? Brown asked Ryan. The speaker appeared uncomfortable.
Reporters were excluded from the off-the-record session, but the exchanges were described later by three people in the room spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to share what had happened.
SOURCE: Philip Rucker and Dan Balz
The Washington Post