Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Donald Trump are highly unlikely to become instant allies after they meet in Washington on Thursday.
After the Wisconsin Republican and the presumptive GOP nominee announced last week that they are “not ready ” to support one another, they are going to need more than one meeting to get on the same page.
[Related: Ready to Meet The Donald, Not Ready to Endorse]
But here are five things we can expect as Trump and Ryan sit down for the first time:
- Candor. The Donald has proven there’s nothing he’s afraid to say, regardless of whom it may offend. And Ryan, while quite poised and somewhat scripted in his public appearances, speaks frankly behind closed doors.
- Is There a Moderator in the House? Ryan is holding two meetings with Trump — one with other House GOP leaders and one with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. The presence of others indicates they need a moderator to prevent the discussion from getting too heated. After Ryan said last week that he couldn’t endorse Trump yet, the business mogul called Priebus, who said he told him to “just relax and be gracious.”
- Conditions. Ryan has said he wants to fully support Trump’s candidacy but that the real estate mogul needs to do more to unify the party before that can happen. The speaker will likely lay out a few stipulations that Trump will need to meet to win his endorsement. When Ryan’s colleagues were calling upon him to run for speaker, he laid out four conditions they had to meet before he would agree. The list of asks for Trump is likely to be longer.
- A Possible Threat. Trump said he was blindsided by Ryan’s refusal to support him. And his mocking response that he’s likewise not ready to support Ryan’s agenda showed it also upset him. Trump probably won’t appreciate Ryan telling him what he needs to do, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he again threatens Ryan. In a news conference this year, Trump said the speaker would “pay a big price,” a comment Ryan said made him laugh out loud. On Sunday, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin urged Republicans to vote for Ryan’s currently little-known opponent in his August primary.
- Common Ground. Whatever happens behind closed doors, the public statements Ryan and Trump issue afterward may well point to areas of common ground. And if they don’t, that’s a sign of how bad things really are.