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Wake Up To Politics - May 6, 2016

Friday, May 6, 2016
186 Days Until Election Day 2016
80 Days Until the Republican National Convention
73 Days Until the Democratic National ConventionI'm Gabe Fleisher for Wake Up To Politics, and reporting from WUTP world HQ in my bedroom - Good morning: THIS IS YOUR WAKE UP CALL!!!
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2016 Central

  • Paul Ryan: “Just Not Ready” to Back Trump House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), the highest-ranking Republican in the nation, joined a growing number of Republican lawmakers and donors on Thursday in refusing to back his party’s presumptive nominee, Donald Trump.
  • Ryan, who is also the party’s most recent vice presidential nominee, did not outright bash Trump or signal that he would never support him, but he made his reservations clear Thursday, a move that will hurt Trump’s efforts to unite the Republican Party as it gives cover to others members of Congress to join the “Never Trump” movement.
  • While the “Never Trump” movement accepted Ryan into the fold as its most powerful member, Ryan’s words made him seem more in the “Not Trump Right Now”
  • Asked in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper if he planned to endorse Trump, Ryan said: “To be perfectly candid with you, I’m just not ready to do that at this point. I’m not there right now. And I hope to, though, and I want to.”
  • “I think what a lot of Republicans want to see is that we have a standard-bearer that bears our standards,” Ryan continued.
  • “I think conservatives want to know, does he share our values and our principles on limited government, the proper role of the executive, adherence to the Constitution?” he said. “There are a lot of questions that conservatives, I think, are gonna want answers to, myself included. I want to be a part of this unifying process. I want to help unify this party.”
  • Donald Trump himself fired back, releasing a statement of his own on the Speaker. “I am not ready to support Speaker Ryan’s agenda,” Trump said, snarkily mirroring Ryan’s own words. “Perhaps in the future, we can work together and come to an agreement about what is best for the American people. They have been treated so badly for so long that it is about time for politicians to put them first!”
  • According to Politico, Ryan informed Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, a fellow Wisconsinite who has pledged support to Trump, before the interview aired. The Trump campaign, however, got no such heads-up, and was blindsided by the CNN interview. In fact, just hours before it aired, the Trump campaign had sent an invitation to the Speaker’s office for a one-on-one meeting with Trump. Ryan was never informed of the offer, and his office did not respond.
  • In an interview with “Fox & Friends” on Friday morning, Trump said he “was very, very surprised” by Ryan’s announcement, but said that “it doesn’t bother me at all.”
  • CNN reported Thursday that Ryan made his declaration partly to shield fellow House Republicans from being tagged with Trump in November, a hope intensified when Trump marked Cinco de Mayo the same day with an off-color tweet of him eating a Trump Taco Bowl, captioned: “I love the Hispanics!”
  • Many other Republican luminaries followed or preceded Ryan’s announcement with similar declarations of their own. Of the party’s five living past presidential nominees, four – Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, Arizona Sen. John McCain, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney – have announced that they will not attend the convention nominating Trump this summer.
  • Both Bushes, through spokesmen, signaled that they will not comment on the election, while McCain did endorse Trump. Romney, however, followed Ryan’s lead in remarks to a Washington, D.C. dinner on Thursday night: the party’s 2012 nominee called himself “dismayed” by Trump’s nomination, and refused to endorse him.
  • While Ryan is also opposed to Trump’s nomination, many of his fellow anti-Trump Republicans have an escape route the Speaker does not: he must attend the Cleveland convention, and in fact, will preside over it, befitting his stature in the party. Making him, as Politico put it “effectively the emcee of the Trump coronation” he opposes.
  • Today on the Trail Just three presidential candidates remain. Where are they today?
  • Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both have no public events scheduled for today, although Clinton has a fundraiser in San Francisco with California Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, actress Elizabeth Banks, and novelist Cheryl Strayed. Tickets for the event range from $35 to $2,700.
  • In addition, Donald Trump has two rallies scheduled for today: at the Lane Events Convention Center in Eugene, Oregon and at Werner Enterprises Hangar in Omaha, Nebraska. Trump will be joined at the Omaha rally by Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, who will endorse Trump despite his mother and other family members (who own the Chicago Cubs) bankrolling an anti-Trump super PAC.

White House Watch

  • The President’s Schedule President Barack Obama has just one event on his public schedule: a 4pm meeting with Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.
  • Also, this weekend: the President will deliver the commencement address at Howard University in Washington, D.C., one of the nation’s leading historically black colleges and universities.
  • Biden’s Day Vice President Joe Biden will be interviewed by six local television anchors on a number of issues, specifically the Senate’s refusal to vote on Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court nomination.
  • Obama spoke with a handful of TV anchors earlier this week on the Garland nomination as well.
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For more on Wake Up To Politics, listen to Gabe on NPR's "Talk of the Nation, the Political Junkie podcast, and St. Louis Public Radio; watch Gabe on MSNBC's "Up with Steve Kornacki, and read about Gabe in Politico, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Globe, and the St. Louis Jewish Light