What is with Republicans and the Speakers that they have picked? We just can’t seem to find a good one. Do you think it would be better is Ryan resigned? Or should he stay put?
By Billy House
Paul Ryan wants to move past his differences with Donald Trump after a divisive campaign, but the House speaker’s relationship with the incoming president will face a test as he carves out his own agenda for Republicans in Congress.
Ryan faces competing pressures from different parts of his own caucus. Some members warn they’ll be monitoring his loyalty to Trump. Other senior members want Ryan to stick to the conservative line on spending and other matters and not roll over for Trump, a stance that could bring a quick end to the uneasy peace between the speaker and the new president.
The two men see eye to eye on repealing Obamacare as the first order of business, but don’t agree yet on the details of how to replace it. Other early flashpoints are likely to be Trump’s insistence on a $1 billion infrastructure plan and a wall along the Mexican border — both of which could balloon the deficit, anathema to a spending hawk like Ryan.
“This speaker is not a potted plant, and he has strong opinions on matters of policy,” said Representative Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, a Ryan ally and co-leader of a group of House moderates. He said Ryan will work with the Trump administration, “but I just don’t see the speaker rolling over on every policy.”
As the Congress convenes Tuesday, House members plan to re-elect Ryan as speaker. The Wisconsin Republican has emerged unscathed so far from his unprecedented decision last fall to distance himself from the then-Republican presidential nominee. Trump isn’t retaliating yet, but it’s uncertain whether their tentative truce can last.
Even with full Republican control of Congress and the presidency, some conservatives warn that Ryan, 46, will be on a short leash. Trump has strong support within the House GOP conference, and the speaker must tread lightly because it was the president-elect’s Republican uprising that succeeded, not his own.
And while Trump may not be perfectly meshed with the policy thinking of the most conservative House Republicans, many of them are kindred spirits in his anti-establishment, change-Washington bent.
Ryan “miscalculated the mood of the conference by not backing Trump and miscalculated again when he assumed a Trump loss would vindicate the first mistake,” said a leading House conservative, in a view held by other pro-Trump conservatives who are wary of the speaker.
Ryan and his allies may be counting on letting Trump lead initially in hopes of wearing him down and taking control of the legislative agenda, the same lawmaker said, adding that that would be a mistake. If Ryan does this, he says, Trump conservatives will abandon him.
“Trump leads, Ryan agrees, is the only way to survive,” the lawmaker said.
After Trump grabbed the party’s presidential nomination, Ryan openly criticized some of his controversial remarks, including his claim that a federal judge with Hispanic heritage couldn’t be fair. But some House colleagues thought Ryan went too far by saying he would no longer defend or campaign for the party’s nominee after a video surfaced in early October that showed Trump bragging about groping women.
Trump openly complained about Ryan’s disloyalty and called him “weak and ineffective.” He tweeted that it was difficult to do well with “zero support” from the speaker.
Remarkably, the two were never seen in public together throughout the entire campaign, making a joint appearance only after Trump’s unexpected victory.