donald trump.jpg
Photograph: Photo by Gage Skidmore, used under CC BY-SA

The stakes are high Thursday as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump seeks to woo the party leaders he has been quick to attack on the campaign trail as the fractured Republican Party looks toward November elections.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and other top Republicans are to meet with Trump at the Republican National Committee headquarters after the billionaire real estate mogul essentially secured the party's presidential nomination earlier this month when his remaining rivals dropped out of the presidential race.

The meeting with Ryan and the rest of the House Republican leadership was "to begin a discussion about the kind of Republican principles and ideas that can win the support of the American people this November," according to a statement from Ryan's office.

Ryan last week said he was not ready to endorse Trump, despite calls by Republican chairman Reince Priebus for party unity following a brutal primary campaign.

Ahead of Thursday's meeting, Ryan said it would not be wise to "pretend we're unified as a party" without addressing the underlying issues.

"This election is too important to go into an election at half strength," he told reporters. "That means we need a real unification of our party ... that's going to take some effort."

Trump's caustic style and deviation from traditional party orthodoxy on issues such as trade and taxes has splintered the Republicans, and it remains unclear whether he will be able to unify the party.

Trump has indicated little willingness to back down from his fiery campaign rhetoric.

"People like the way I’m doing," he told the New York Times Wednesday.

Ryan, who was the party's vice presidential candidate alongside Mitt Romney four years ago, has sought to convey an image as an affable policy-focused politician.

Romney has also been outspoken against Trump and went after him Wednesday for refusing to release his tax returns.

Ryan has expressed reservations about many of Trump's positions, but must also worry about Republicans maintaining control of Congress.

The elections, now in less than six months, will see voters electing all 435 members of the House and one third of the Senate. Less obviously, many states will hold elections for the governors and state legislators who will eventually decide the House district maps into the next decade.

Some Republicans fear that Trump's nationalistic, nativist and protectionist leanings could sap the enthusiasm of the Republican base while spurring minority turnout for Democrats in key states.

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