- The Washington Times - Friday, May 19, 2017

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Friday that despite President Trump’s “bad two weeks,” Congress is still moving ahead on its agenda, which he says gives him optimism for 2018 and 2020.

“Obviously, he clearly did have a bad two weeks, and clearly it’s my hope that he does right the ship, that he improves so that we can just get it going. But just so you know, we’re still doing our work, working with the administration, getting our work done. It’s not as if things stop and we wait for a better news story,” Mr. Ryan said on “The Hugh Hewitt Show.”

“I’m faithful and optimistic about 2018 and 2020. Keep our promises, do our work, and I think people will reward us because we’re doing what they wanted us to do,” he said.

Mr. Ryan said the president’s continued troubles only makes congressional Republicans “more focused” on their jobs.

“If anything it makes us more focused on doing our jobs. Because we want the country to be assured that Congress is still working on solving their problems,” he said.

“What I worry is people are in their homes, they’re turning on the TV, they’re turning on some morning show and reading the newspaper, listening to the radio, [and] they think this is all Washington does is focus on this stuff. That’s just not what’s going on. We are busy focusing on these issues,” Mr. Ryan said.

The speaker said he believes tax reform will get done this year and that the Senate will pass a health care bill before the August recess.

He said there is actually more bipartisanship than the media reports and that Congress continues to work and pass bills even when it doesn’t appear that way.

“I had two meetings with Nancy Pelosi yesterday. I was with Chuck Schumer the day before. My job isn’t to be out there talking to journalists on the other side of the aisle. My job is to be in Congress working with members of Congress on the other side of the aisle,” he said.

The speaker also reacted to a tape of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy saying Mr. Trump was being paid by the Russians, a claim both Mr. McCarthy and the speaker said was meant as a joke.

“I’ve never seen anything like this. There was somebody who taped a meeting a year ago where our majority leader cracked a joke and then they released the tape of that joke just a few days ago. And that’s a pretty bizarre thing to happen,” Mr. Ryan said.

Mr. Ryan wouldn’t speculate on who released the tape, but acknowledge the name being floated around is former presidential candidate Evan McMullin.

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