Trump endorses Ryan, senators in effort to right campaign

Republican Trump attempts to steer his presidential campaign back in favour of his party’s establishment by endorsing US House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan and two Republican senators seeking re-election.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Republican US Presidential nominee Donald Trump attends campaign event at the KI Convention Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin August 5, 2016.

Republican Donald Trump acted to steer his White House campaign back into favour with his party's establishment on Friday by endorsing US House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan and two Republican senators seeking re-election, after expressing coolness towards them earlier this week.

"I need a Republican Senate and a House to accomplish all of the changes that we have to make," Trump said during a rally in Green Bay in northern Wisconsin, Ryan's home state. He also endorsed Senators John McCain of Arizona and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, calling Ayotte a "rising star."

"We will have disagreements, but we will disagree as friends," Trump said,

Trump earlier this week refused to endorse Ryan, telling The Washington Post he was "not quite there yet" – nearly the same phrase Ryan had used about Trump before finally endorsing him. Trump said in the same interview that McCain had not done enough for veterans and criticised Ayotte for distancing herself from him during the campaign.

Ryan, the top US elected Republican, had no plans to attend the Wisconsin event, a sign of lingering frictions between the pair, even though Trump's running mate, Mike Pence, did endorse him. Ryan's Republican primary challenger, businessman Paul Nehlen, did attend, according to a spokesman.

Speaker of the US House of Representatives Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, US, July 19, 2016.

The tension between Ryan and Trump has caused deep frustration among party leaders and lawmakers.

Trump's endorsement came as one of several steps to get his campaign back on track after days of controversy and falling poll numbers that have given Democrat Hillary Clinton the advantage in the race to the Nov. 8 election.

In the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Friday, Clinton's lead over Trump narrowed to less than 3 percentage points, down from nearly 8 points on Monday.

Democratic US presidential nominee Hillary Clinton gives a thumbs up to supporters after speaking to International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Local 357, union members during a rally at the IBEW union hall in Las Vegas, Nevada, US, August 4, 2016. 

Trump said on Friday he wanted a "big tent" party with multiple viewpoints welcome. He said he was endorsing Republican lawmakers due to their "shared mission to make America great again."

Trump also announced a new advisory team to help guide him on economic policy. The group relies heavily on hedge fund managers and investment bankers, a group Trump has railed against. There are no women on the team.

Trump plans to release his economic policy framework in a speech in Detroit on Monday, an event that will offer him a chance to avoid theatrics and detail how he would handle economic issues if elected.

Trump economic adviser Stephen Moore told Reuters that the candidate's plan would focus on four areas: tax, deregulation, energy policy and trade. "It's going to be an all-encompassing look at how we reform the economy," Moore said.

In Des Moines, Trump said, "All my life I've been told, 'You have the greatest temperament,'" he also said voters should consider supporting him because of Pence, who appeared with him at both events.

Republican US presidential nominee Donald Trump points at his running mate Governor Mike Pence at the conclusion of the final session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, US July 21, 2016.

"If you don't like me, that's okay. Vote for Pence because it's the same thing," Trump said.

Trump bashed the media as well, saying reporters over-hyped an incident earlier in the week in which he criticised a mother for bringing a crying baby to an event in Virginia. "I love babies," he said.

Finance and industry leaders

Trump's campaign said his economic advisory panel included former steel executive Dan DiMicco; Howard Lorber, CEO of tobacco company Vector Group Ltd; and Trump campaign finance chairman and investment manager Steven Mnuchin.

Hedge fund managers John Paulson and Steve Feinberg, Trump's economic adviser Moore, and David Malpass – who has served in previous Republican administrations – were also named.

Trump's moves came after many Republicans urged the candidate to correct course following a tumultuous week.

The real estate mogul and former reality television star was caught up for days in a public spat with the parents of a Muslim American soldier killed in Iraq. The parents had criticised Trump at last week's Democratic National Convention. Many Republicans, including Ryan, McCain and Ayotte, were critical of Trump's insistent attacks on the pair.