Politics

Ryan Dodges Trump’s ‘Tweet of the Hour’ — Again

Speaker says he does more than hang out on Twitter all day

President Donald Trump’s tweets are growing on House Speaker Paul D. Ryan. The two are seen here with Vice President Mike Pence at the congressional Republicans’ retreat in Philadelphia last week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

BY REMA RAHMAN AND LINDSEY MCPHERSON

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan is continuing to to brush off addressing near-daily controversial tweets from President Donald Trump.

On Thursday, Ryan dismissed questions asking him to respond to a tweet by Trump, which called an agreement by the Obama administration to take refugees from Australia a “dumb deal.”

While the Wisconsin Republican assured the Australian reporter that no one should be worried about the relationship between the current president and her home country, he stopped short of reacting to Trump’s description of the agreement on his preferred social media platform.

“I typically don’t quote or comment on the tweet of the hour,” Ryan said.

Earlier, he fended off a question about former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who tweeted at the president Thursday that they should switch jobs after Trump belittled the ratings of the actor’s show “The New Celebrity Apprentice” at the National Prayer Breakfast. (Trump had previously hosted the reality show.)

“I’m not going to comment on this stuff,” Ryan said. “Let’s talk about policy.”

https://twitter.com/Schwarzenegger/status/827169996866347008

Despite his disinterest in weighing in on Trump’s Twitter pronouncements, Ryan said Thursday on “Fox & Friends” that the president’s tweets are growing on him.

“I tried to become vice president in 2012; we lost the election. [Trump] won the election,” he said. “I think one of the big differences is he has learned how to communicate straight to people. He is giving voice to people who felt like they haven’t been listened to in this country. And I think that’s an amazing thing. And I think that’s largely what he’s able to accomplish with Twitter.”

But Ryan said he doesn’t always see Trump’s tweets.

“I definitely hear about them — there’s no choice about that. But I’m pretty busy in the day job, so I’m just not hanging out on Twitter,” the Wisconsin Republican said.

Ryan also addressed the question of why Republicans have started to use the word “repair” when speaking about health care legislation. The speaker said the word is not meant to imply that the GOP will only make changes to the 2010 health care law.

“We must repair the system, but to repair the system we must repeal and replace Obamacare,” he said.

In a later interview on WISN’s “The Jay Weber Show,” Ryan spoke about recent protests around the country, including a riot at the University of California, Berkeley, noting that they seemed to be consequence of people being upset about losing the election.

The speaker suggested that some of the angst was being driven by “media hysteria trying to throw a wrench in the gears” of the Republicans’ agenda.

“There’s a lot of misinformation that gets put out there. It’s important to separate fact from fiction,” the speaker said.

As for the GOP policy plans, Ryan said it’s “refreshing” that politicians are actually following through on campaign promises.

“It shouldn’t be a surprise what we’re doing because we ran on this agenda,” he said.

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