- Allan Smith/Business Insider
CLEVELAND – Paul Ryan praised Donald Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, during a breakfast for the Pennsylvania delegation Monday morning.
“A lot of us served with Mike Pence,” Ryan said of the Indiana governor. “This is a man out of the conservative movement. This is a man who really does know his principles. This is a man who has the courage of his convictions.”
He told a story of working with Pence in 2007 when their idea of fiscal policy clashed with that of the George W. Bush administration’s. Pence was one of just eight stood with Ryan during that battle, he said.
“He was willing to put his neck on the line and fight for what it takes to balance a budget and pay off the debt,” the House speaker said. “That’s what I see in Mike Pence. So what we have here is a really good leader, a good conservative, a knowledgeable conservative, a real Reagan-like happy warrior joining this ticket.”
“So I am excited that you’re going to get to know Mike Pence,” he continued.
In laying out his “Better Way” policy agenda, Ryan’s statement of support for Trump was simple: the Manhattan billionaire will help pass the speaker’s proposed legislation, and presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton will not.
“Guess what? Hillary Clinton doesn’t agree with any of this stuff,” Ryan said. “Donald Trump does.”
“Look, I know this was a tough primary, a tough election,” he continued. “This is binary choice. Trump or Clinton. That is your choice. And guess what? We have shown that we’ve got the guts, we have shown that we’re willing to put our necks on the line. We’re putting the specifics on the table and we’re giving the country a choice.”
Ryan spent roughly a month following Trump’s clinching of the nomination in May before deciding whether to endorse him.
In one of the better attempts at pandering to voters this cycle, Ryan, an avid fan of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers, waved a Pittsburgh Steelers “Terrible Towel.”
“I want to win the election so darn badly, that I’m willing to do this,” he said, twirling the towel.
He also made a bold prediction for the upcoming NFL season.
“We will see you guys in the Super Bowl in January,” he said of a Steelers-Packers matchup. “Go Pack and the other teams you guys like.”
The Wisconsin Republican said Pennsylvania could swing the outcome of the entire election.
“You’re a pretty big delegation, 20 electoral votes,” he said. “You could make the decision on this. You could decide this whole thing Pennsylvania.”