House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) on Tuesday dismissed concerns about Donald Trump appointing Steve Bannon, a former Breitbart executive who has embraced the alt-right, as his chief strategist in the White House.
“Look, I would just simply say that the president is going to be judged on his results. This is a person who helped him win an incredible victory and an incredible campaign. The president is going to be judged on the results of this administration,” Ryan said when asked at a press conference about concerns that Bannon will serve in the administration. “We’re confident about moving forward. We’re confident about the transition. And we’re very, very excited about getting to work for the American people.”
Since Trump announced that Bannon would serve as a top adviser, Trump allies and some Republicans have brushed off concerns from critics that Bannon’s website has mainstreamed white nationalism and xenophobia.
Another reporter noted to Ryan that Bannon’s website, Breitnart, has run articles critical of Ryan. The site ran a piece claiming that Ryan was “running scared” while facing a primary challenger and an article mocking Ryan for sending his children to Catholic school.
Ryan dismissed Breitbart’s past coverage of him as well.
“I’m not looking backward, I’m looking forward,” Ryan said. “I’m looking to the future, and I’m looking forward to how we make this work for the American people, how we help President-elect Trump be the most successful president in our lifetimes.”
The speaker began his Tuesday press conference on Capitol Hill by celebrating how Republicans secured the presidency and majorities in Congress.
“Welcome to the dawn of a new unified Republican government. It feels really good to say that, actually. This will be a government focused on turning President-elect Trump’s victory into real progress for the American people,” Ryan said. “Our team is very excited, and we cannot wait to get to work. At the same time, we recognize the task ahead of us is enormous. If we’re going to put our country back on the right track, we have got to be bold and we have to go big. This country is expecting absolutely no less.”
Ryan pledged to work with the Trump transition team to “lay out our ambitious path for 2017.”
“We want to make sure we hit the ground running in January so we can deliver on the new president’s agenda. A better way, better days, lie ahead for our country,” he said.
When one reporter noted that Trump won by promoting some ideas not shared by establishment Republicans, Ryan insisted that Trump and House Republicans are “on the same page.” He said that both Trump and Congressional Republicans were ready to tackle Obamacare and regulations, push for border security, and create more jobs.
“I talk with Donald Trump virtually every single day. I spoke with Mike Pence this morning. We are on the same page,” he said. “We’re working hand in glove and we’re going to make sure this is a very successful administration. But more importantly, we’re going to make sure the voices we heard from this election, from the American people are acted upon.”