Trump applauds congressional allies as he kicks off inaugural festivities

President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpGOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania ​​Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors Iran thinks it has the upper hand in Vienna — here's why it doesn't 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 RyanNo time for the timid: The dual threats of progressives and Trump Juan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Cheney takes shot at Trump: 'I like Republican presidents who win re-election' 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 McConnellDemocrats livid over GOP's COVID-19 attacks on Biden US could default within weeks absent action on debt limit: analysis The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Congress avoids shutdown MORE (R-Ky.), Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynHouse passes bill to expedite financial disclosures from judges McConnell leaves GOP in dark on debt ceiling Congress's goal in December: Avoid shutdown and default MORE (R-Texas), National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Cory GardnerCory GardnerThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden to tackle omicron risks with new travel rules Gun control group alleges campaign finance violations in lawsuit against NRA Colorado Supreme Court signs off on new congressional map 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 PenceHaley has 'positive' meeting with Trump Haley hits the stump in South Carolina Mitch McConnell's great Trumpian miscalculation 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.