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 John TrumpNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter DC correspondent on the death of Michael Reinoehl: 'The folks I know in law enforcement are extremely angry about it' Late night hosts targeted Trump over Biden 97 percent of the time in September: study MORE and Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanPelosi and Trump go a full year without speaking Jordan vows to back McCarthy as leader even if House loses more GOP seats Barrett declines to say if Trump can pardon himself 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 ClintonLate night hosts targeted Trump over Biden 97 percent of the time in September: study 10 steps toward better presidential debating Continuity is (mostly) on the menu for government contracting in the next administration 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 PenceThe clock is ticking and Trump is still taking a shellacking State of the race: 'Cancel culture' and polling don't mix Pence to mount 'aggressive' campaign push in final two weeks 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 RodgersConservatives seize on New York Post story to push Section 230 reform Race heats up for top GOP post on powerful Energy and Commerce Committee Hillicon Valley: Trump backs potential Microsoft, TikTok deal, sets September deadline | House Republicans request classified TikTok briefing | Facebook labels manipulated Pelosi video 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 BoehnerPelosi and Trump go a full year without speaking Jordan vows to back McCarthy as leader even if House loses more GOP seats On The Trail: How Trump lost the law and order debate 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 BoehnerPelosi and Trump go a full year without speaking Jordan vows to back McCarthy as leader even if House loses more GOP seats On The Trail: How Trump lost the law and order debate 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 WickerSenate Republicans offer constitutional amendment to block Supreme Court packing Government efforts to 'fix' social media bias overlooks the destruction of our discourse The Section 230 fight Congress should be having 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 McConnellSenate GOP eyes Oct. 26 for confirming Barrett to Supreme Court GOP noncommittal about vote on potential Trump-Pelosi coronavirus deal Overnight Health Care: Trump takes criticism of Fauci to a new level | GOP Health Committee chairman defends Fauci | Birx confronted Pence about Atlas 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..