By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan are scheduled to meet Thursday to discuss the future, and it’s a crucial moment in this presidential campaign for several reasons.

First, Trump needs Ryan’s endorsement. It would be the strongest possible signal to skeptical Republicans that qualms about Trump must be subordinated to stopping Hillary Clinton. And even more importantly, it would encourage big-money GOP donors with ties to the party establishment to overlook Trump’s campaign-long disparagement of them and pony up.

What’s that?

You thought Trump was going to self-fund what could be a $500 million dollar campaign?

Better think again.

And for Ryan, as leader of the House Republicans, this meeting is really a last chance to determine if Trump is truly a “loose cannon,” as Hillary Clinton puts it, who will campaign in a way that kills the party, or is he willing to deal with Ryan’s concerns, perhaps by releasing his tax returns or moderating his rhetoric.

I’ll go out on a limb here and say it’s not going to go well.

After Trump spent much of the primary season trashing Ryan’s principles and leadership, you can bet Ryan can’t stand the guy. And while his job as speaker involves dealing with a lot of people he can’t stand, he has zero incentive to roll over and surrender to Trump without getting something in return.

And for all of Trump’s self-congratulation about his deal-making ability, I’m betting against him being magnanimous in this meeting. Trump’s ego is at full throttle right now, and his contempt for Ryan has been clear.

Jon Keller

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