Trump, Ryan signal new chapter in relationship

Trump, Ryan signal new chapter in relationship
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When you’re winning, it’s easy to get along. 

President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpSanders calls out Manchin, Sinema ahead of filibuster showdown Laura Ingraham 'not saying' if she'd support Trump in 2024 The Hill's 12:30 Report: Djokovic may not compete in French Open over vaccine requirement MORE and Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanOn The Trail: Retirements offer window into House Democratic mood Stopping the next insurrection Former Sen. Bob Dole dies at 98 MORE (R-Wis.), sometime political rivals, sounded a note of cooperation Wednesday, just hours after Republicans swept control of the White House, House and Senate.


The political odd couple has had a rocky relationship throughout the campaign cycle but expressed confidence they could work together in a GOP-dominated government made possible by Trump’s historic rout of Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat Left laughs off floated changes to 2024 ticket A year into his presidency, Biden is polling at an all-time low MORE.

Ryan and Trump spoke twice in the hours after polls closed Tuesday night, and the two will meet over lunch at 12:30 p.m. Thursday at the Capitol Hill Club next door to the Republican National Committee. On a post-election conference call with rank-and-file Republicans, Ryan said he believes Trump and Vice President-elect Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PencePences' pet rabbit, Marlon Bundo, dies Pence says both Capitol riot and nixing filibuster are a 'power grab' McCarthy says he won't cooperate with 'illegitimate' Jan. 6 probe MORE are willing to stick with the current House GOP leadership team.

Such signs of support mean it’s becoming more and more likely Ryan will stay on for a full two-year term as Speaker, despite chatter among some GOP colleagues that he might have to step down over his tepid support for Trump during the campaign.

Assuming that Trump’s actions match his public statement, “I can’t imagine we’ll have any problems,” said a senior GOP lawmaker close to leadership who was on the call.

Ryan has set leadership elections for next Tuesday, despite calls from the far-right Freedom Caucus and outside conservative groups to delay the races until they can evaluate how Ryan handles issues during the upcoming lame-duck session.

Ryan’s top lieutenants — Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersHillicon Valley — Biden's misinformation warning Lawmakers call on tech firms to take threat of suicide site seriously, limit its visibility Lawmakers focus on bridging broadband divide highlighted amid pandemic MORE (R-Wash.) — all said Wednesday they planned to seek reelection to their leadership jobs. The trio also served under Ryan’s predecessor, ex-Rep. John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDemocrats eager to fill power vacuum after Pelosi exit Stopping the next insurrection Biden, lawmakers mourn Harry Reid MORE (R-Ohio), before conservatives ousted him from power.

But the idea of seating the exact same leadership team after such a historic presidential victory isn’t sitting well with David McIntosh, president of the conservative outside group Club for Growth. House Republicans shouldn’t replace Ryan, McIntosh argued, but the Speaker should rethink the composition of his leadership team.

“I think what Ryan needs to do is shake up his own leadership team, to build, basically, a coalition, where he has conservatives, moderates, all different elements in the caucus, so he can have unity going forward,” McIntosh told The Hill.

“I just think he’s got to re-do it so it’s not just the old BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDemocrats eager to fill power vacuum after Pelosi exit Stopping the next insurrection Biden, lawmakers mourn Harry Reid MORE crowd.”

Speaking to reporters in his hometown of Janesville, Wis., Ryan offered effusive praise for Trump — a departure from earlier in the cycle, when Ryan would frequently condemn the candidate’s fiery rhetoric and numerous controversies.

“This is the most incredible political feat I have seen in my lifetime,” Ryan said at the news conference. “Donald Trump heard a voice out in this country that no one else heard. He connected with — he connected in ways with people no one else did. He turned politics on its head.

“And now, Donald Trump will lead a unified Republican government. And we will work hand-in-hand on a positive agenda to tackle this country’s big challenges.”

One of the first priorities of the new Trump administration: Repealing and replacing ObamaCare, which Republicans have been trying to gut since the health law was signed in 2010. Republicans are also anxious to see Trump nominate a conservative to the Supreme Court to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

And Republicans are salivating to roll back dozens of Obama administration regulations and executive actions once Trump takes office in January.

“I think he has a mandate to do what he campaigned on, to repeal and replace ObamaCare, to put constitutional scholars on the Supreme Court. I liked what he said last night about rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure,” National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerSenators to meet with Ukraine president to reaffirm US support US budget deficit narrows sharply US lawmakers weigh new COVID-19 stimulus funding for businesses MORE (R-Miss.) told reporters at the GOP’s national headquarters. “I think it will be a partnership, and we all understand our role.”

Wicker’s campaign counterpart in the House, Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), said Ryan has spent significant time briefing Trump on the House’s six-pronged, election-year policy agenda dubbed “A Better Way.” It includes ideas on national security, tax reform and poverty.

Trump never adopted the agenda as part of his official campaign platform, but Walden said there was plenty of overlap.

“We’re on the same page,” Walden insisted.

Ryan isn’t expected to be challenged in his race for Speaker, and he’s exuding confidence he’ll win another two years atop the House GOP.

In some GOP circles, there is still skepticism that Trump will play nice with Ryan. He has a long memory, and he’s made threats against the Speaker before. In October, he told Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly that if he were elected president, the Speaker may need a new position. 

But Trump’s resounding White House victory may have been just enough to save Ryan’s job. It’s an opportunity, some lawmakers said, for Trump to show magnanimity toward those he’s clashed with in the past.  

If Trump had lost, the populist movement he gave voice to “would have demanded the resignation of the entire leadership of the House and the Senate,” Brent Bozell, president of the conservative Media Research Center, told reporters Wednesday.

“If that wasn’t forthcoming,” he added, “there would’ve been an open civil war in the Republican Party” and probably the formation of a new party.

The onus now, Bozell warned, is on House and Senate GOP leaders, who’ve argued the past eight years that they couldn’t push through their agenda because of the Democrat occupying the White House.

“I don’t want 60 percent. We should be able to get 100 percent, because that’s what they promised,” he said. “And now they have the votes and they have a president who said he was going to deliver.

“So this could actually be a very good thing where Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnell​​Democrats make voting rights push ahead of Senate consideration Hogan won't say if he will file to run for Senate by Feb. 22 deadline Voting rights, Trump's Big Lie, and Republicans' problem with minorities MORE and all the rest of them could turn out to be real leaders within the conservative movement.”

Sarah Ferris and Jonathan Swan contributed to this report, which was updated on November 10 at 7:38 a.m..