Ryan to GOP: Stop calling each other names

Ryan to GOP: Stop calling each other names
© Camille Fine

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanBush, Romney won't support Trump reelection: NYT Twitter joins Democrats to boost mail-in voting — here's why Lobbying world MORE (R-Wis.) implored Republicans to stop squabbling with each other and stay focused on passing tax reform during a week of feuding between lawmakers and the president. 

“If we’re calling each other names or calling each other out or saying things against each other, what does that do to help a working mom get ahead? What does that do to help a veteran get the health care he deserves? … What does that do to advance tax reform to get us faster economic growth and bigger paychecks? Nothing,” Ryan told reporters Thursday at his weekly news conference.

“We need to stay focused on solving people’s problems and on being concerned about their issues and moving this agenda forward,” he said.

Ryan's remarks came days after Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeCheney clashes with Trump Sessions-Tuberville Senate runoff heats up in Alabama GOP lawmakers stick to Trump amid new criticism MORE (R-Ariz.), a good friend and former House colleague, announced after months of feuding with President Trump that he would not run for reelection in 2018. He then ripped into the Republican president, calling him a threat to democracy during an unprecedented floor speech that stunned Washington.

Flake’s rebuke of Trump came after Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCheney clashes with Trump Sessions-Tuberville Senate runoff heats up in Alabama GOP lawmakers stick to Trump amid new criticism MORE's (R-Tenn.) own announcement that he would not run for reelection. The morning of Flake's speech, Corker and Trump spent hours exchanging jabs and going after one another on Twitter.  

“[W]e must stop pretending that the degradation of our politics and the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal. They are not normal,” Flake said in his floor speech.  “Reckless, outrageous and undignified behavior has become excused and countenanced as telling it like it is when it is actually just reckless, outrageous and undignified."

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“And when such behavior emanates from the top of our government, it is something else. It is dangerous to a democracy,” the Arizona senator added.

As he did in an earlier statement, Ryan praised Flake, calling him a “good friend” who had led the crusade against earmarks when he served in the House.

“I think the world of Jeff Flake and I wish him the best of luck in the future. I think he is a very good man,” Ryan said. “He helped us with earmark bans. He was the voice of fiscal restraint in the House.

Asked about the coarsening of the political rhetoric within the GOP, Ryan replied: “I don’t think the American people care about that. You know what the American people want to see us do? Solve their problems. I don’t think the American people want to see us here yelling at each other. They want to see us fighting for them.”

Ryan and House Republicans took a victory lap Thursday after narrowly passing their fiscal 2018 budget. That would allow Republicans to pass their tax-reform bill without needing Democratic votes in the Senate.

Republicans plan to roll out their tax bill in the House on Wednesday.

Asked if he's worried Trump could distract from Congress's tax-reform efforts next week with a tweet or off-hand remark, Ryan joked: 
 
"He's going to be in Asia."