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 RyanAmash: Trump incorrect in claiming Congress didn't subpoena Obama officials Democrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights Three-way clash set to dominate Democratic debate 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) Thomas KingGOP lawmakers blast Trump's Syria decision as 'grave mistake,' 'disaster in the making' Here are the Democrats who aren't co-sponsoring an assault weapons ban Hotel industry mounts attack on Airbnb with House bill 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. ReedNo Labels' fight against partisanship 25 years of championing successful community development Overnight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Walmart to stop selling e-cigarettes | Senators press FDA to pull most e-cigarettes immediately | House panel tees up e-cig hearing for next week 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."