The White House reacted to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump ’s meetings with GOP congressional leaders with “some amusement.”
“I don’t know anyone here who’s going to lose sleep over this meeting,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters, referring to the White House.
White House officials find it telling that although Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin spent ample time after taking the gavel late last year getting buy-in from his members on his policy agenda, he seems focused on convincing another GOP leader, Trump, to embrace it, Earnest said.
[Trump, Ryan Cite ‘Common Ground’ After Meeting]
Earnest questioned why Ryan is not using his “authority” as speaker to push a budget resolution, and legislation that addresses issues like avoiding a Zika virus pandemic , Puerto Rico’s financial crisis and opioid abuse. Rather than capitalizing on the GOP’s mandate from the 2014 midterm elections, he said, Ryan is too focused on the “next election.”
Doug Andres, a Ryan spokesman, used a Wednesday email blast to push back on similar comments Earnest made Wednesday when he said that bills the House passed on a range of issues lack substance.
Andres’ email included a list of bills the chamber took up this week alone. “These bills range from addressing opioid addiction among our veterans, to babies infected with this disease, to pain management best practices, and much more. For the White House to belittle months of work to save lives is just wrong,” Andres wrote.
Earnest seemed to fire back Thursday, criticizing GOP-pushed measures for failing to include monies to counter Zika.
[Poll: In Ryan vs. Trump, Republican Voters Side With Trump]
Also on Thursday, Ryan and Trump acknowledged their differences, but said there was a “great opportunity to unify our party and win this fall,” in a joint statement released after their meeting. Ryan said he is still not ready to endorse Trump, but was encouraged by the conversation.
“While we were honest about our few differences, we recognize that there are also many important areas of common ground,” Ryan and Trump said in the statement. “We will be having additional discussions, but remain confident there’s a great opportunity to unify our party and win this fall, and we are totally committed to working together to achieve that goal.”
Hours later, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky told reporters that his leadership team had a “very good, constructive meeting” with Trump.
— Niels Lesniewski, Bridget Bowman, Lindsey McPherson and Bill Clark contributed to this report.
Contact Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @BennettJohnT.
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