Paul Ryan’s half-hearted endorsement of Donald Trump reminded me of being asked whether you wanted to be hanged or poisoned as a way of leaving the world.

Ryan, like so many other leading Republicans, is furiously hedging his bets, damning The Donald with faint praise yet trying to give him a tepid endorsement to keep enough of the Trump camp happy.

Irish American Ryan is among the smartest politicians I have ever met, a man who probably could have had the Republican nomination this year if he'd wanted and would probably have won the White House given the obvious weakness of Hillary Clinton.

Instead, a wolf in wolf’s clothing arrived in the person of Trump to “upset the apple tart,” as an Irish Prime Minister one time gloriously put it.

No question Ryan avoided the enthusiastic endorsement as much as he could. If the following sentences look like an all-out endorsement then I suggest you see your eye surgeon or enroll in Trump University.

“It’s no secret that he and I have our differences,” Ryan said.

“I won’t pretend otherwise. And when I feel the need to, I’ll continue to speak my mind. But the reality is, on the issues that make up our agenda, we have more common ground than disagreement.”

There are more caveats there than in a lawyer’s brief. Ryan is doing what many leading Republicans are doing and, as in “High Noon,” running for the hills while protesting they will help Gary Cooper save the town.

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Top of that list are Ohio's governor and Republican senator who are currently stammering about whether they will be in Cleveland when the convention is on. Governor John Kasich and Senator Rob Portman look like they are refusing to attend the Republican convention in their own city. What kind of backing is that?

The excuses of others are many and varied. “I can watch it on television,” said Senator Lindsey Graham. “I have a tough race,” says Senator McCain. We're just waiting for the luminary who will announce his dog ate his airline ticket.

All of which is dreadfully unfair on Trump. After all he won over 13 million votes with much more to come in states like California and New Jersey and he deserves the full backing of the party he has so spectacularly grabbed hold of.

Ryan had stated that he believes the party platform will be acceptable to all shades of opinion within the party, i.e: white males and females. The color will be provided by Black and Hispanic entertainers no doubt. Why they might even have a Muslim selling kebabs in the aisles.

Don't blame Trump. This is on Ryan and Company who never had the foresight to see Trump racing through a gap as wide as the Great Canyon amid the party’s core support. They were way too late to stop him.

So man up Paul Ryan and accept Trump as the nominee and pin your colors to your party's standard bearer. No more of this wishy-washy Democratic Party like stuff where endorsement statements have the weight of a no-decision.

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Trump should issue a battle cry that those who follow him fully have to sign on the dotted line. The senators and such heading for the hills who refuse to do so should be cast into the badlands where they belong.

The party will rise or fall on Donald Trump's campaign mastery, which – so far – is focused on Republicans' key issues such as border control, Mexican rapists, corrupt Hispanic judges etc. And don't forget transgendered bathrooms, an issue of extraordinary importance to billions round the world, putting the Middle East wars in the shade.

Let the Trump march begin with Ryan and company in the phalanx.