Will Trump Make Peace With Ryan?

Some House Republicans hope the president-elect is gracious in victory toward the speaker, but no one knows for sure what he’ll do.

House Speaker Paul Ryan crosses his fingers while speaking at a campaign rally in Janesville, Wis., on Tuesday.
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
Daniel Newhauser
Add to Briefcase
Daniel Newhauser
Nov. 9, 2016, 2:49 a.m.

With Donald Trump’s shocking upset to win the presidency, House Republicans are now pondering a crucial question: Will he resolve his grudge with Speaker Paul Ryan?

Republicans kept a majority in the House with a sizeable enough margin that Ryan could easily be reelected speaker under normal circumstances. But the circumstances in the run-up to this election have been anything but normal.

Having captured the Republican base in deep-red districts around the country, Trump’s posture towards the speaker he has called weak and ineffective will be critical in the coming days and months, and even House Republicans loyal to the speaker concede that Ryan’s fate is in Trump’s unpredictable hands.

“Trump blesses Paul, all is good. Trump decides to fight, it will be a problem,” said one Ryan-friendly House Republican, speaking anonymously to discuss leadership deliberations. “He will have a lot of influence over what happens next in the House. Hard to guess what he’ll do.”

House Republicans who have supported Ryan were hoping late Tuesday night that Trump, who spent a good deal of his campaign settling scores, would let this one go. Already, speculation had been building that if Trump lost, he would train his ire on Ryan to deflect from his own failure, potentially costing Ryan the speakership. Now, those Republicans are hoping that even if Trump wouldn’t have been gracious in defeat, he will be gracious in victory.

“A Trump win is good for [Ryan] because they won’t need a scapegoat,” said another House Republican. “Deep down Trump knows he needs Ryan to get the legislation done.”

Of course, that assumes Trump’s idea of governance jibes with Ryan’s, and on critical points of Trump’s campaign he has diverged with the speaker and other House Republicans. Ryan criticized Trump for linchpin policies of his campaign, such as banning Muslims from entering the United States. Trump, conversely, has been steadfastly against trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Ryan has supported.

Add to that the volatility of the House Freedom Caucus, and Ryan’s chances for keeping the gavel could be slim. As results were trickling in, at least one Trump ally was already going after Ryan. Fox News host Sean Hannity predicted on the air Tuesday evening that Ryan would not be speaker in January. Hannity had previously said a Freedom Caucus member should run.

While it remains unlikely that most of the House Republican Conference would vote for a Freedom Caucus member for speaker, it also is unlikely that members from districts that heavily voted for Trump would risk their own careers defending Ryan, if indeed Trump demands his ouster.

Ryan and Trump were set to campaign together in Wisconsin on Sunday, but Trump canceled his appearance. Instead, Ryan campaigned with Pence and instead of his tepid posture toward Trump, Ryan gave his most strident endorsement yet of the GOP candidate.

“Let me tell you this: When Donald Trump says that he wants a special session to repeal and replace Obamacare, let me tell you that as speaker of the House, we are ready, we are willing, and we are ready and we have a plan to do that,” Ryan said.

With Wisconsin key to propelling Trump to victory, Ryan’s late-hour stumping could help heal the wound. Ryan called Trump on Tuesday night and the two had a “good conversation,” according to Ryan aide AshLee Strong. Ryan congratulated Trump and spoke to Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

On the other hand, Ryan gave a short acceptance speech Tuesday night after winning reelection to his Wisconsin congressional district but before Trump had been declared the winner. And as Ryan had been earlier in the election, he shied away from Trump, declining even to mention his name.

Now, House Republicans are hoping that the two men can not only speak each other’s names with respect, but look each other in the eye and come to an agreement.

“Trump should say he wants Ryan as speaker. That is the best-case scenario for us all to move forward,” said a third House Republican. “Trump will step up and recognize that Paul is the best person and put the family fighting behind us. I hope.”

What We're Following See More »
"OUR SAUDI ARABIAN CITIZEN"
Pompeo To Discuss Khashoggi With Saudi King
13 minutes ago
THE LATEST
TRUMP CALLED HER "POCAHONTAS"
Warren Releases DNA Test Showing Native American Ancestry
18 minutes ago
THE LATEST

"Senator Elizabeth Warren has released a DNA test that provides 'strong evidence' she had a Native American in her family tree dating back 6 to 10 generations." Warren's claims "to Native American blood have been mocked by President Trump and other Republicans," and she released the results to the Boston Globe to "defuse questions about her ancestry that have persisted for years." The decision is "another indication of how seriously Warren is considering running for president," and was accompanied by "a slickly produced video [her Senate campaign] planned to distribute Monday morning."

Source:
WOULD SERVE THROUGH 2020 ELECTION
Trump Asks McDaniel to Serve Another Term as RNC Head
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"As President Trump builds his team for 2020, he has asked Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel to serve a second term, according to a source familiar with the conversation. The source said Trump praised McDaniel's work on behalf of the America First Agenda, effective management of the party infrastructure, and record grassroots engagement and fundraising."

Source:
INTENDS TO CALL BY MONDAY
Trump Says He'll Call MBS to Ask About Khashoggi
10 hours ago
THE LATEST

"President Trump said he plans to call Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud about the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Trump spoke on Saturday during an appearance in the Oval Office with Pastor Andrew Brunson, who was recently released by the Turkish government."

Source:
SAYS HE TREATED HER FAIRLY
Trump on Blasey Ford: "We Won"
10 hours ago
THE LATEST

Asked by Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes on Sunday night, President Trump said he thought he treated Dr. Christine Blasey Ford fairly, even as he was accused of poking fun of her at a rally. He then declined to address the issue further, saying "I'm not going to get into it, because we won. It doesn't matter. We won."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login