President Donald Trump “always finds a way to get it done,” House Speaker Paul Ryan wrote in Time magazine’s annual 100 most influential people issue, heaping praise on a man he once swore off during last year’s presidential campaign.
“When so many, including me at times, didn’t see how he could pull it off, Donald Trump won a historic victory,” Ryan wrote in his brief but laudatory offering on the president. “And in becoming the 45th President of the United States, he completely rewrote the rules of politics and reset the course of this country.”
Ryan and Trump have been mostly in lock-step since the president’s surprise victory last November, but the pair were hot-and-cold during the campaign. The speaker was famously hesitant to embrace Trump even as it became clear that he would be the GOP nominee. And even after Ryan fell in line behind Trump, the speaker kept his party’s candidate at arm’s length and did not appear with him until after the election.
Their campaign relationship culminated weeks before Election Day, when audio surfaced of Trump describing in vulgar terms how his celebrity status allowed him to sexually assault women without consequence. Trump said the recording was just “locker room talk” that did not reflect his true values, but it was enough for Ryan to cancel a planned appearance with Trump and announce to House Republicans that he would no longer defend the GOP nominee.
And while the two have spoken warmly of one another and have publicly worked together since Trump took office, the effectiveness of their partnership remains to be seen. Their first major legislative goal, passing legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare, failed in the House of Representatives because Ryan and Trump were unable to get enough members of their own party on board.
But writing for Time, Ryan suggested that Trump will ultimately make good on his policy goals, which also include major tax reform legislation, a military buildup, a dramatic shift in trade policy and a tougher stance on immigration that includes a southern border wall funded by Mexico. Trump, Ryan said, is “a driven, hands-on leader, with the potential to become a truly transformational American figure.”
“A businessman always willing to challenge convention, he has shaken up Washington and laid out an agenda of generational proportions,” Ryan wrote. “I have little doubt that he will, once again, find a way to defy the odds and get it done.”