Many reasons to withhold support

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan isn't ready to support his party's standard-bearer until that standard-bearer proves that he has … well … standards.

Without ever mentioning Donald Trump by name, Ryan laid down a marker last week in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper: He will need to know if Trump has any principles before he can support the presumptive nominee.

Good for Paul Ryan — he should stick to this position.

But Ryan shouldn't hold out much hope: Trump has made it clear so far that he has no polestar. He's a dealmaker willing to deal away nearly anything or say nearly anything. That may work well in New York real estate; it works rather poorly in statecraft.

Let's not forget what Trump has said so far to get the nomination: He would deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, even though anyone who has studied the immigration issue has said that what Trump proposes is not only cruel but impossible. Trump has said he would ban all Muslims from entering the country — thus establishing a religious test for the land of the free. He has made jokes and spoken disparagingly about women — time after time after time. On Election Day last Tuesday, on the eve of clinching the nomination, he insinuated that the father of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, then still his chief rival, had something to do with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Shall we go on?

"I hope to support our nominee. … I'm just not there right now," said Ryan, saying it was "time to set aside bullying" and offer an aspirational message based on conservative principles.

"We will need a standard-bearer that can unify all Republicans, all conservatives, all wings of our party" and appeal to independents and a diverse array of Americans, Ryan said. "We have work to do. Our nominee has work to do."

Trump's response? "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."

Ryan objects to Trump, we suspect, because he, like many conservatives, doesn't believe Trump is a conservative. There is good reason to believe that. Trump has waffled on social issues and given plenty of money to Democrats in the past. And, as noted, who can tell what he really believes?

Our objection is more fundamental: We believe Trump is wholly unfit to be president — now or ever. He can't be trusted with the reins of the world's most powerful office. He's unsteady and unpredictable — which he claims is a strength, though in dealing with foreign powers is hardly that. And he has embraced not only outlandish ideas (including being the birther-in-chief in raising silly questions about President Obama's lineage), but he also has insulted practically everyone who has challenged him.

The GOP has lots of work to do to bring itself together. As Ryan said, "I think a lot of the burden is on the presumptive nominee to do that, and so we'll see."

That we will.