Trump applauds congressional allies as he kicks off inaugural festivities


President-elect Donald Trump 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 Ryan (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.”

{mosads}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 McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Cory Gardner (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 Pence 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.

Tags Cory Gardner Donald Trump John Cornyn Mike Pence Mitch McConnell Paul Ryan

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