OTR Interviews

How can Trump persuade Paul Ryan and skeptical Republicans?

House Speaker Paul Ryan declined to publicly support Trump. What can the GOP's presumptive 2016 nominee do to sway Republicans? Rep. Lee Zeldin goes 'On the Record'


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 5, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Well, Donald Trump now sits alone atop of the GOP, but Trump does face what could be an uphill battle to rally the all-important Republican Party leaders.

House Speaker Paul Ryan saying this today.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: You have said throughout this process that you will support the Republican presidential nominee. Now you have a presumptive nominee, Donald Trump.

Will you support him?

PAUL RYAN, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Well, to be perfectly candid with you, Jake, I'm just not ready to do that at this point. I'm not there right now. And I hope to, though. And I want to.

But I think what is required is that we unify this party. And I think the bulk of the burden on unifying the party will have to come from our presumptive nominee.

I don't want to underplay what he accomplished. He needs to be congratulated for an enormous accomplishment for winning not now a plurality of delegates and he is on his way to winning a majority of delegates. But he also inherited something very special.


VAN SUSTEREN: And Donald Trump just responding in a statement to Speaker Ryan. He says, "I'm not ready to support Speaker Ryan's agenda. Perhaps in the future we can work together and come to an agreement about what is best for the American people that have been treated so badly for so long that it's about time for politicians to put them first."

Now, that was Donald Trump. And it's not just Speaker Ryan speaking up. President George H.W. Bush and President George W. Bush both saying they will not endorse and neither will attend the Republican convention in Cleveland.

And do we expect another no show at the convention? 2012 GOP Governor Mitt Romney.

New York congressman and Donald Trump supporter Lee Zeldin goes ON THE RECORD.

Good evening, sir.

REP. LEE ZELDIN, R- NY: Good evening, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Nice to see you.

So what do you think about the fact that the two former president say they will not endorse, and Speaker Ryan says he's not ready to endorse?

ZELDIN: Well, I'm confident that Mr. Trump and Speaker Ryan and hopefully our former presidents that they will be able to come together. There is a lot of shared passion for the future of our country. I'm sure many shared goals.

In order to have victories together to strengthen foreign policy, improve our economy, improve education and healthcare, in order for us to do that, we need to work together or the last eight years that we saw Barack Obama are going to get continued with four years of Hillary Clinton.

So it's a necessity for the future of our country, for everyone to come together and come together strong.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it certainly seems like it's more than just sort of a temporary upset within the party. It does look more like a rupture because a temporary upset and everyone sort of be silent. But the former presidents have both spoken up and said they will not endorse.

The former GOP nominee 2012 says he won't endorse Trump. And he says he is not going to the convention. So I mean, this is a very public spat. This looks a lot deeper. This looks like a rupture within the party. So now what happens?

I mean, how does Donald Trump try to correct that or fix that or massage that?

ZELDIN: Well, I think that Mr. Trump, Speaker Ryan, they can have a discussion about where they agree and disagree. When you talk about foreign policy or how to improve our tax code, what to do about common core or repealing and replacing ObamaCare, if they could sit down at a table, I mean, they will realize that they agree with each other a lot more than if you are sitting down maybe with Hillary Clinton at the same table.

Mayor Ed Koch, former mayor of New York City, he said if you agree with me nine times out of 12, vote for me. If you agree with me 12 times out of 12, see a psychiatrist. They may not agree all the time, but they can work together.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well, you may have to broker that sort of sit- down relationship. But Reince Priebus, who is the chairman of the Republican National Committee, talked to our Sean Hannity and he said this about Speaker Ryan.


REINCE PRIEBUS, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: I talked to him this afternoon after he made his comments. And I talked to Donald Trump, too. And they are both committed to sitting down and work -- and actually talking this out.

Both Donald Trump and Paul Ryan are meeting next week to talk about these things. I think it's going to work out. But, you know, in some cases, people are not going to be instantly on board. And I know that can be frustrating for some people. But I think everyone has to have a little bit, allow a little bit of the steam to get out and get everyone to settle down. And I think that this is going to come together.


VAN SUSTEREN: And you see the rest of that interview with Sean tonight at 10:00 p.m.

I guess I go back to this, Congressman, is that it still strikes me. It's as if the two are going to sit down as Chairman Priebus says next week to say why is this dirty laundry being dangled in front of the public now, if they have the intention of sort of working this out. That doesn't seem like a good idea.

ZELDIN: Well, you know, I mean, Speaker Ryan's comments -- you know, he was also talking with optimism that he wants to work it out. I mean, it's not like this is something that is permanent. I think it's very temporary. And the fact is the keys to the White House, the Oval Office are either going to Hillary Clinton or they're going to Donald Trump.

And if we don't make Donald Trump the next president of the United States, we're making Hillary Clinton. Bill Clinton becomes the first man. The future of our country at stake and not only four years in the White House, but what kind of a Supreme Court would we have if Hillary Clinton was picking the next three or four justices?

That's a generation or two generations. The future of our country, much beyond just one term in office. So, the necessity of them sitting down next week, working it out, talking about their priorities, finding common ground and achieving results, it's important for America.

VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, thank you.