House Speaker Paul Ryan brushed off threats Donald Trump recently made about him, saying he simply ‘laughed out loud’ when the Republican frontrunner warned Tuesday evening that Ryan will “pay a big price” if he doesn’t get along with him.
"I'm going to get along great with Congress,” Trump said during his Super Tuesday speech. “Paul Ryan, I don't know him well, but I'm sure I'm going to get along great with him. And if I don't, he's going to have to pay a big price."
The new Speaker, just four months on the job, told reporters at the Capitol that he was watching Trump’s Super Tuesday victory speech live on TV in his office when he heard the real estate mogul and reality TV star issue a vague threat.
“I just laughed out loud, I think,” Ryan said. “Sometimes reality is stranger than fiction these days.”
Still, Ryan predicted he could get along with Trump, whom he’s met only once before.
“I’m a good-natured guy,” Ryan said.
Ryan repeatedly refused to criticize Trump on Thursday, even as Ryan's former 2012 running mate, Mitt Romney, held a simultaneous news conference ripping Trump as a “phony” and a “fraud.”
Ryan said he would not stop short of criticizing any candidate if they misrepresent conservatism, however.
“If I see episodes where conservatism is being disfigured, ideas and comments that mislead the people as to who we are as Republicans, I’m going to speak out on those. I’ve done it twice already,” he said. “I’m going to speak out for who I am and what I believe and what we as House Republicans believe and what conservatism is as we understand it.”
Ever positive, Ryan also added that rather than attacking Trump, House Republicans can develop a conservative legislative agenda that will help the party throughout the competitive primary process.
“I can help lead House Republicans to offer an agenda. I can help put substance in this campaign,” Ryan said.
Ryan said the agenda could “add a keel and a rudder to this ship of the Republican Party and give it direction so we can take the American people a real choice."