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High-Ranking Republican Sen. John Thune: Paul Ryan-Donald Trump Meeting Is 'Really Important'

The Senate Republican hopes Thursday's meeting unites the pair.

ByABC News
May 11, 2016, 5:03 PM

— -- Sen. John Thune (R-SD), the third-ranking Republican in the Senate, told reporters today he hopes that House Speaker Paul Ryan comes around to supporting Donald Trump as his party’s presumptive nominee.

“Yeah, he’s a major leader in our party,” Thune said when asked if Ryan’s criticism of Trump makes it harder for the Republican Party to unite after a divisive primary period.

He also said he hoped Trump’s meetings Thursday with House and Senate Republican leadership, including Ryan and his team, might lead to some reconciliation if not an outright endorsement.

“I think that their meeting tomorrow is going to be really important and hopefully somewhat determinative of what happens going forward,” he continued.

Thune’s remarks echo the sentiment of many other Senate Republicans, who are following the example set by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who has been much more open than Ryan to Trump’s likely nomination, saying Tuesday that Trump is winning “the old-fashioned way.”

“He got more votes than anybody else, and we respect the voices of the Republican primary voters across the country,” McConnell told reporters Tuesday.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), also a top-ranking Senate Republican, said he hoped Thursday’s congressional summit with the Trump team would lead to both sides getting a better understanding of each other.

“It’s time to listen, time to talk, and work on ways to make sure that our nominee becomes the president of the United States in November,” he said.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), who originally supported Marco Rubio, noted that Ryan will want a close partner in the White House come 2017.

“I just thought it would have been a better idea if he had embraced him,” Inhofe said Wednesday of Ryan’s reaction to Trump. “If we end up with a Republican president, and a Republican Congress, they’re going to be holding hands every day.”