WASHINGTON - House Speaker Paul Ryan has formally backed Republican presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump, trying to unify the party ahead of November's election.
Ryan, the country's top elected Republican official, last month said he was not yet ready to endorse the controversial candidate, whose policies have in some cases challenged longstanding party positions on trade, foreign policy and other issues.
After the two met in Washington in mid-May, Ryan said he was encouraged by what he had heard, and the party was "planting the seeds to get ourselves unified."
In an essay published in his hometown newspaper in Wisconsin Thursday, Ryan declared that through a series of conversations with Trump, he feels "confident he would help us turn the ideas in this agenda into laws to help improve people's lives."
"It's no secret that he and I have our differences. I won't pretend otherwise,'' Ryan wrote. "And when I feel the need to, I'll continue to speak my mind. But the reality is, on the issues that make up our agenda, we have more common ground than disagreement.''
Ryan's announcement that he would be voting for Trump was released the same time that Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton was delivering a foreign policy speech excoriating Trump's foreign policy.
Some information for this report from AP.