Rep. Adam Kinzinger on Tuesday defended House Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s loyalty to President Trump, a day after audio was published of Mr. Ryan saying during last year’s campaign he wouldn’t be defending then-candidate Trump.
“It was widely reported what he said. He basically said in public what he said,” Mr. Kinzinger, Illinois Republican, said on CNN’s “New Day.”
Mr. Kinzinger said to try to cast Mr. Ryan as disloyal to Mr. Trump would not be a fair appraisal.
“Look, in the campaign we were all struggling with what was being done, what was being said — very unorthodox,” he said. “And then of course, with the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape, it was difficult, but since the election, there have been a lot of us that have said — including Mr. Ryan — we’ll be supportive in every way we can of this president. We have a lot of big things we want to do.
“At the same time, if something happens that we need to be clear and call out, we’ll do that,” Mr. Kinzinger said. “I think there’s really not been anybody that’s been more loyal to, frankly, President Trump than Speaker Ryan in terms of saying we got to work together to do some big things.”
Mr. Kinzinger was referring to a 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape that surfaced in October on which Mr. Trump was caught on a hot mic making lewd comments about women.
On Monday, Breitbart News published audio of what was apparently a House GOP conference call shortly after the release of the tape in which Mr. Ryan says he isn’t going to defend Mr. Trump “now” or “in the future.” A spokesman for Mr. Ryan told Breitbart he was referring specifically to the “Access Hollywood” tape.
The contents of the call were reported on during last year’s campaign. But the new publication of the actual audio comes at a sensitive time for Mr. Ryan and for the administration, as officials at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue work to shepherd Republicans’ plan to repeal parts of Obamacare through the House and the Senate.
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