Paul Ryan, the highest-ranking Republican public official, and Trump work to unite the party ahead of general elections.
Paul Ryan will never fully embrace Donald Trump.
There. I’ve said it.
He might support his run at the White House. He might even endorse him.
But he’ll never fully believe, fully commit and fully support.
The clue is there in the statement after the pair met in Washington.
It was big news. Cable channels put a countdown clock on the screen. Satellite trucks staked out their positions in the early hours of the morning. I know this because they told me, not because I was there too.
But most of the statement could have been written beforehand.
The meeting was needed because Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, a senior figure in the party, refused to fully back Trump when he became the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee.
Asked if he would endorse the candidate after his thumping win in Indiana which all but sealed the deal Ryan could only say: “I’m not there yet.”
If ever there was a huge sign of the split Trump has caused within the Republican Party, here it was.
His words were quite a rebuke to the Republican candidate who had gathered the most primary votes in the party’s history.
Ryan was asked what it was about Trump that troubled him. Was it his opposition to free trade? Or his plan to deport 12 million undocumented immigrants? Or his proposal for a temporary ban on all Muslims entering the US?
“We got work to do,” replied Ryan.
So as protesters chanted outside the Republican National Committee’s headquarters in the shadow of Capitol Hill, the two came face to face.
There were no pictures of the meeting. No smiles recorded for the ages, and no warm handshakes.
They talked for 45 minutes.
The statement came soon after, suggesting it almost had been agreed in advance.
There was to be no endorsement at the end of the get together. Not this time.
There were the usual lines of it being a positive meeting, committed to working together and being encouraged about progress made.
But there is no hiding there is a lot of ground to cover.
They talked about how America can’t afford to elect Hillary Clinton. And of course, they will meet again soon.
And here’s the phrase which tells us Ryan will eventually embrace the Republican’s likely nominee: “While we were honest about our few differences, we recognise that there are also areas of common ground.”
It allows Ryan to move into the Trump camp, but when the businessman says something outrageous or contrary to Republican beliefs, he has a ready-made out.
He can tell everyone: “We said there were differences and I won’t agree with everything he says, but we want to beat the Democrats and that’s more important.”
That’s if he doesn’t say something outrageous before Ryan makes his leap.
Ryan has gone after Trump a few times about things he has said on the campaign trail.
And clearly Ryan would rather the Republican Party focused on his policy agendas of cutting spending, cutting entitlements and cutting taxes.
With his hesitation, he has placed himself as the self-appointed custodian of the soul of the Republican Party.
Backing Trump is a risk, but it’s one Ryan is ready to take.