Ryan on chaplain's dismissal: 'This is not about politics or prayers'

Ryan on chaplain's dismissal: 'This is not about politics or prayers'
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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.) on Monday defended his decision to request House Chaplain Patrick Conroy's resignation, saying the decision was "based on feedback" he received from members.

“Father Conroy is a good man and I am grateful for his many years of service to the House,” Ryan said at the Weekly Standard’s Midwest Conservative Summit in Milwaukee. “This is not about politics or prayers. It was about pastoral services. And a number of our members felt like the pastoral services were not being adequately served or offered.”

The Speaker came under heavy criticism last week over Conroy's ouster, with Democrats alleging that the move was made because Conroy delivered a prayer that could be perceived as being critical of the Republican tax law.

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Ryan, who is Catholic, has repeatedly said the decision wasn't political but instead based on the needs of members.

Some Catholic Republicans, including Rep. Pete KingPeter (Pete) KingCheney clashes with Trump Coronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney On The Money: 3 million more Americans file for unemployment benefits | Sanders calls for Senate to 'improve' House Democrats' coronavirus bill | Less than 40 percent of small businesses have received emergency coronavirus loans MORE (R-N.Y.), have defended Conroy.

"Yeah, this really raises a lot of issues. Let me start off by saying I have a great respect for Paul Ryan," King told The Joe Piscopo Show Monday. "But father Conroy has been the chaplain now for 7 1/2 years. I never heard even a hint, a word of criticism."

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) introduced a resolution Friday that would have established a select committee to investigate Conroy’s dismissal. The resolution failed, though two Republican lawmakers — Reps. Pat MeehanPatrick (Pat) Leo MeehanBottom line Freshman lawmaker jokes about pace of Washington politics Many authors of GOP tax law will not be returning to Congress MORE (Pa.) and Tom ReedThomas (Tom) W. ReedThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Rep. Rodney Davis says most important thing White House can do on COVID-19 is give consistent messaging; US new cases surpass 50k for first time The Athletic lays off 46 staffers as pandemic hits media industry A quiet, overlooked revolution in congressional power MORE (N.Y.) — sided with Democrats in voting against a motion to table the resolution.

"I have known Father Pat for the past seven years and have appreciated the care and guidance he has provided to me and Congress. I admire his dedication and calling to serve in our shared faith," Reed said in a statement.

"I am unaware of any legitimate grounds for the termination of the Chaplain of the House and stand with my colleagues in questioning his removal from office."