House Speaker Ryan: We need real unification; I am willing to be a part of it

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday the GOP has an obligation to unite around common principles. A day before he meets with Donald Trump, Ryan added: "We just need to get to know each other."

"What we're trying to do is be as constructive as possible but have a real unification," Ryan told reporters. "After coming through a very bruising primary, which just ended like a week ago, to pretend that we're unified without actually unifying, then we're going into the fall at half-strength."

Ryan, who meets with Trump on Thursday, has said he's not ready to support the presumptive GOP presidential candidate's run for the White House. Trump then refused to rule out blocking Ryan from serving as chairman of the GOP convention in July, and Ryan, in turn, said he would step down as chairman if Trump requested him to do so.

Speaking of Trump at Wednesday's news conference, Ryan said: "I don't really know him. I've met him once in person in 2012. We had a very good conversation in March on the phone. We just need to get to know each other."

In a statement last week, Ryan's office said the meeting aims to "begin a discussion about the kind of Republican principles and ideas that can win the support of the American people" in November. Ryan said Wednesday that there's plenty of room for different policy disputes within the wings of Republican Party, as long as they present a united front in the November election.

"We cannot afford to lose this election to Hillary Clinton," Ryan said. "To pack the Supreme Court, to keep the liberal Obama agenda going. We have to be at full strength so we can win this election, and that is why we have to go through the actual effort and process of unifying."

Ryan's comments came as the House worked on initiatives to stem drug addiction.

"This threat ... requires a national response," Ryan said. "Whether it is protecting infants, whether it is stopping kingpins or pushers or making better use of data, we are going to take all these ideas, pass them through the House, go into a conference committee with the Senate. And we intend to put a bill on the president's desk fast."