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Special Report

What Paul Ryan's hesitation means for Donald Trump?

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I pretty much have conservatives other than some people that want to get publicity for themselves. Some of the people that want to get publicity that I've defeated, you know, I defeated them. And it wasn't a pretty picture. I defeated them, and it was hard. It was not nice, and maybe they're not used to being spoken to that way. But whatever it is, it worked. And that's what we have to have for our country. We need something that works on trade or military, whatever it is, whatever the thinking is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now you have a presumptive nominee, Donald Trump. Will you support him?

REP. PAUL RYAN, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: 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.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: That's the House speaker reacting, as you heard, to that question. Just a short time ago Donald Trump put out a statement reacting to Speaker Ryan's comments, saying, quote, "I am 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. They have been treated so badly for so long that it is about time for politicians to put them first."

Chris Christie weighed in just a short time ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J.: I'm going to reach out to the speaker and see what his concerns are. I won't really know what fixable and what isn't until I know what's kind of behind it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: OK, with that, let's start there. Let's bring in our panel, Judge Andrew Napolitano, Fox News senior judicial analyst, Karen Tumulty, national political correspondent for The Washington Post, and Steve Hayes, senior writer for The Weekly Standard. OK, Judge, first of all, Ryan saying what he said, and reaction to the Trump interview?

JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS SENIOR JUDICIAL ANALYST: My reaction to the Trump interview is you have the patience of a saint because it required a lot of digging and probing and prodding. He obviously didn't want to answer all the questions that you gave him, and my hat is off to you. I don't think we really learned anything new other than that he hasn't changed. He is the same Donald Trump we have seen marvelously and successfully win 40 of 41 primary contests and now become the presumptive nominee.

I am not surprised at what Paul Ryan said. I think that the Republican congressional leadership knows once Donald Trump is off to the races, once he has a ton of cash that the Republican Party is going to give to him to combat Hillary Clinton or whoever the Democratic nominee is, they will lose any leverage they have with him. And if they want any leverage, they better have it now. That's one way to look at it.

Another way to look at it is, you know what, Paul Ryan may actually think that a President Hillary Clinton would be easier for him to negotiate with, compromise with, and deal with, than a president Donald Trump.

BAIER: I don't know, Judge. He said he wanted to get there, and it seems like they're going to have some kind of negotiations. Karen, Darrell Issa just out moments ago saying he will endorse Donald Trump, former chairman of oversight and government reform. Your thoughts?

KAREN TUMULTY, THE WASHINGTON POST: I think it's all of this goes to a very big existential question that the Republican Party is facing with Donald Trump as its standard bearer, which is what does it mean to be a Republican? In this case, their nominee is against what most people would consider to be conservative principles on, you know, military interventionism, trade, entitlements. And, you know, I think that what Paul Ryan is trying to do is reassert the prerogatives of Congress, which now has its biggest Republican majority since 1928 as sort of the institution that defines what a Republican is.

BAIER: Steve?

STEVE HAYES, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well look, I think Ryan was trying to do a couple of different things. One, I think he was trying to give cover to House Republicans who aren't comfortable supporting Donald Trump. And there has been sort of a rush to endorse Donald Trump, but a lot of House Republicans, particularly conservatives, don't want to endorse Donald Trump. Paul Ryan sent signals today saying that's OK.

I think the other thing is here philosophical and ideological. Paul Ryan, remember, took on the Republican establishment in 2010 so that he could introduce entitlement reform, believes that entitlements are driving our debt. We have to reform entitlements or the country is going to face a debt crisis. He beat the Republican establishment. He put that in the Republican budget. Republicans in Congress today, most of them, almost all of them have voted for those entitlement reforms. And Donald Trump is running for president saying he won't support entitlement reform. He has taken on Paul Ryan's entitlement reforms directly, and I think that's a problem.

BAIER: Although he did say at the end of that interview that everything is a negotiation, essentially that he has firm beliefs but he is going to negotiate because he wants to do it through Congress and not through executive order.

HAYES: It's fair to say we don't know what Donald Trump would do if he were president really on any issue. But he has repeatedly said back in 2012, campaigning again in the debates, that he opposes Paul Ryan style entitlement reform.

And Chris Christie, it's unclear to me why he has these questions, I mean, why this is so strange. Chris Christie ran for president, and his main issue was entitlement reform, said it was the most important single thing. And then he went out after he dropped out and he endorsed a candidate who opposes entitlement reform.

The reason Paul Ryan has concern and it might come as news to Chris Christie is because Paul Ryan has principles. He actually meant it when he said he wanted to reform entitlements.

BAIER: Judge, to Steve's point we don't know 100 percent on a lot of different issues how president Trump if he's elected would dig in or negotiate ordeal with Republicans.

NAPOLITANO: I think you're right. The only thing we know for sure is that everything is negotiable. We know that because we listen to him, we have seen his change his opinion, change his mind on abortion five times in three hours. He went from one extreme to the woman to should go to jail to the other extreme, maybe we should be a pro-choice party, said that all in one day. And we know from his books and from his personal behavior he is willing and prepared to negotiate almost everything. And it may be literally everything.

BAIER: But, Karen, he's striking a chord. He's the presumptive nominee, and he's winning.

TUMULTY: He understood something about the electorate that had completely eluded the leadership of the Republican Party. Don't forget, Donald Trump is a man who six days after Mitt Romney lost in 2012 went to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and filed for a trademark on the phrase, "Make America Great Again." I mean, he saw it early, and he, he knew what was going to connect with the electorate.

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