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Paul Ryan doesn't believe he'll have to denounce Trump

U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) holds a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington March 17, 2016.
Gary Cameron | Reuters
U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) holds a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington March 17, 2016.

Paul Ryan doesn't believe that he will have to publicly take a stand against Donald Trump.

In a Thursday news conference, Ryan was asked if he would denounce Trump's candidacy given his previous criticism of the GOP front-runner's Muslim ban proposal and failure to quickly disavow the Ku Klux Klan.

"I do not believe that I'll have to do that," Ryan said.

"This is a democratic process. The Republican primary voter is going to make this decision on who our nominee is going to be. If the person doesn't get sufficient delegates, then it goes to the convention and the delegates make that decision," said the speaker of the House.

"I'm going to respect that process. So it isn't my place to say who our nominee is or what," he said.

When asked about Trump warning of riots if he is denied the Republican presidential nomination, Ryan shook his head.

"Nobody should say such things in my opinion, because to even address or hint to violence is unacceptable," he said.

Ryan said he has an obligation to defend the party's principles from being mischaracterized.

"Not just Donald Trump, if anybody is out there representing the Republican Party in ways that we believe disfigure conservatism or do not portray what our views and principles are I, as a party leader — and others, I assume as well — have an obligation to defend our principles from being distorted and we're going to continue doing that," Ryan explained.

On the subject of the possibility of his own name getting tossed into the ring, Ryan quickly denied that he would accept the nomination.

"It's not going to be me. It should be someone running for president. Look, I made a decision over a year ago not to run for president. I really believe, if you want to be president, you should run for president," he said.

Ryan also said that given the increasing possibility of the Republican nominee being selected at the party's July convention that he would play his part as convention chair.

"My goal is to be dispassionate, to be Switzerland, to be neutral and dispassionate and to make sure the rule of law prevails and to make sure that the delegates make their decision however the rules require them to do that," he said.