Trump applauds congressional allies as he kicks off inaugural festivities

President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpLev Parnas implicates Rick Perry, says Giuliani had him pressure Ukraine to announce Biden probe Saudi Arabia paid 0 million for cost of US troops in area Parnas claims ex-Trump attorney visited him in jail, asked him to sacrifice himself for president MORE showered praise on his congressional allies during a celebratory lunch at his Washington hotel one day before his inauguration.

Trump arrived at the hotel shortly before 1 p.m., after a military plane touched down at Andrews Air Force Base to deliver the president-elect to the nation's capital before Inauguration Day.

Once there, he took the stage and lauded a handful of congressional leaders, particularly House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanEsper's chief of staff to depart at end of January Latinos say they didn't benefit from Trump tax cuts — here's why Conservative commentator rips Trump's signature tax overhaul: 'It was a big mistake' MORE (R-Wis.), with whom he had a rocky relationship during the election.

"I don't know if Paul is here, he's out writing legislation because he's got so much legislation to write. He's never had this," Trump said.

"And now he actually has someone who is going to sign it."


Trump said he's "starting to really, really love Paul," adding, "We're doing really well together."

And he offered justification for a recent public disagreement the two appeared to have over the House Republicans' border-adjustment tax plan.

Soon after terms of the GOP plan leaked, The Wall Street Journal published a story headlined, "Donald Trump warns on House Republican tax plan," casting a cloud over the fate of the tax plan.

Trump said Thursday that the interview was conducted a few days before he and Ryan touched base and agreed over the phone not to publicly air the details of the tax negotiations until they were all on the same page.

Ryan and Trump were not always in agreement during the campaign — the House speaker did not immediately endorse Trump after he clinched the nomination and backed away further after a decade-old tape emerged that featured Trump discussing groping women.

But Ryan, who chaired the president-elect’s Republican National Convention, where he called for unity, never officially pulled his endorsement and has since forged a better relationship with Trump and key members of his staff, such as Stephen Bannon.

During the luncheon, Trump also singled out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPoll shows Collins displaces McConnell as most unpopular senator Hill.TV's Saagar Enjeti on impeachment: 'CNN can see through this nonsense' Trump says impeachment trial should move 'very quickly' MORE (R-Ky.), Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynKoch network could target almost 200 races in 2020, official says Seven things to know about the Trump trial New Parnas evidence escalates impeachment witnesses fight MORE (R-Texas), National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerKoch network could target almost 200 races in 2020, official says Hickenlooper raised .8 million for Colorado Senate bid in fourth quarter of 2019 Lawmakers introduce bill to bolster artificial intelligence, quantum computing MORE (R-Colo.), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif), House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), House Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) and House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-Wash.).

Trump also took a moment to compliment his Cabinet nominees, saying, "We have by far the highest IQ of any Cabinet ever assembled." 

After the lunch, Trump and Vice President-elect Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceParnas: Environment around Trump 'like a cult' White House pushes back on Parnas allegations The Hill's Morning Report - Dems to lay out impeachment case to senators next week MORE will attend a wreath laying at Arlington National Cemetery, and the president-elect will make an appearance at a concert at the Lincoln Memorial before finishing the evening at a dinner.