"These were discussions, not negotiations," Ryan told reporters about a bipartisan dinner Wednesday night. "There isn't an agreement."
After the meal with Trump and top aides, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced that they reached the framework for an agreement to protect about 800,000 young immigrants from deportation. The Democrats said they discussed passing protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program into law with other border security measures.
A deal, the Democrats said, would not include Trump's proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
On Thursday, Trump denied that he reached a final deal with the lawmakers. He insisted on eventually building the wall, though not as part of a bill to shield the so-called dreamers.
"I think we're fairly close, but we have to get massive security ... Mitch [McConnell] is on board, Paul Ryan's on board," Trump said before he left for hurricane-ravaged Florida.
Schumer and Pelosi followed up Thursday by saying, "What remains to be negotiated are the details of border security, with a mutual goal of finalizing all details as soon as possible."
Ryan on Thursday said he supports passing DACA protections attached to other border security measures. But he and other Republican leaders indicated that a deal could be further away than the Democrats hope.
"There is no agreement. The president and the chief of staff called me from Air Force One today to discuss what was discussed. And it was a discussion, not an agreement or a negotiation," said Ryan, who did not attend the dinner.
"You cannot fix DACA without fixing the root cause of the problem," the Wisconsin Republican added. "We do not have control of our borders. So, we need border security and enforcement as part of any agreement. I think that's something the Democrats are beginning to understand."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday appeared to believe an agreement is not imminent.
"As Congress debates the best ways to address illegal immigration through strong border security and interior enforcement, DACA should be part of those discussions. We look forward to receiving the Trump administration's legislative proposal as we continue our work on these issues," he said.
McConnell's No. 2 in the Senate, Majority Whip John Cornyn, on Thursday said, "it looks like a deal to make a deal." The other members of Congress "will have some ideas about what that will look like and what will actually pass," he added.
Still, some of Trump's most loyal supporters in the right-wing media decried Trump's efforts to strike a deal with Democrats. The website Breitbart News, which staunchly supported Trump as a candidate, labeled him "Amnesty Don" and said he caved on DACA.
Media personality Ann Coulter responded to a Trump tweet voicing support for so-called dreamers by asking, "who DOESN'T want Trump impeached?"
Fox News host Sean Hannity also expressed dismay at Trump talking to Democrats — though he blamed the engagement on McConnell rather than Trump.