House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and President-elect Donald Trump were barely on speaking terms for much of the 2016 campaign. Now that Trump has won and ushered in an era of total GOP government control, however, Ryan is hugging him close.
“The past is the past,” he told Fox News’ Bret Baier in a Thursday interview, after watching a clip of Trump saying he was “disappointed” in Ryan’s leadership and refusal to openly support his candidacy.
Ryan called Trump’s surprise win and “updraft” on the Republican ticket “one of the most impressive political feats I have seen in my lifetime.”
“Donald Trump deserves all that credit,” he added.
The two party leaders met for the first time since this summer’s Republican National Convention on Capitol Hill on Thursday for a conversation that Ryan described as “fantastic” and “productive.”
Ryan and Trump have stark differences in policy and personality. The House Speaker is a policy wonk long focused on slashing Social Security and Medicaid spending and promoting free trade deals, while the President-elect is a big government nationalist who has demonstrated little interest in policy details.
According to Ryan, Trump’s win rendered those differences irrelevant.
“We’re on the same page,” he repeatedly told Fox’s Baier when asked about repealing Obamacare, immigration policy, and deregulation.
While Ryan has never expressed support for Trump’s signature policy proposal of building a “big, beautiful” wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, he told Baier that “you have to have physical barriers on the border.”
“Being in Congress without having the White House has been extremely frustrating because we haven’t been able to get things done,” he said. “We have a unified Republican government. We can actually get things done for the people of this country. We now have that.”
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