Speaker Paul D. Ryan was watching Donald Trump’s press conference live Tuesday night when the Republican front-runner said the speaker would “pay a big price” if the two can’t get along and work together.
“I just laughed out loud,” Ryan (R-Wis.) told reporters Thursday. “Sometimes reality is stranger than fiction around here these days. I don’t really think anything of it.”
Despite Trump’s threat, Ryan says he will work with the billionaire if Trump wins the nomination.
“I don’t really know him,” the speaker said. “We’re going to obviously get to know each other if he gets the nomination, and we’ll cross those bridges when we get to it. I’m a good-natured guy, so I get along with everybody.”
Ryan said he plans to have conversations with Trump and the other remaining GOP candidates.
“I’m going to reach out to each and every one of them to walk them through the agenda project,” he said of House Republicans’ five-point agenda to rewrite the tax code, overhaul welfare programs, ensure the solvency of entitlement programs, beef up national security and restore the constitutional authority of the legislative branch.
Other than pushing that agenda, the speaker is hoping to stay out of the presidential race, but he said he will speak out again if sees candidates expressing views that contradict basic conservative principles. He’s done so twice already, when Trump said he would ban Muslim immigrants and when he refused to denounce the KKK.
“If I see episodes where conservatism is being disfigured, if I see ideas and comments that mislead the people as to who we are as Republicans, I’m going to speak out on those,” Ryan said.