WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/CBS News) — On “60 Minutes” Sunday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) talked about his partnership with President-elect Donald Trump, which may soon be the most scrutinized in Washington.
On the campaign trail, the two were at odds. Speaker Ryan had called one of Trump’s statements racist and Trump dismissed him as ineffective and disloyal.
But Ryan told CBS News’ Scott Pelley the two are not looking back and are already working together. He said they call each other and talk “about every day,” and Trump does not refer to himself as “the president-elect.”
“He’s a pretty casual guy. He calls me Paul. I call him Mr. President-elect, because I just — I have a reverence for the office,” Ryan said. “But yeah, he’s very casual about it.”
Ryan said he has told Trump that being president is not, as Pelley put it, “being CEO of the United States.”
“We’ve talked about the Constitution, Article I on the Constitution, the separation of powers. He feels very strongly, actually, that — that, under President Obama’s watch, he stripped a lot of power away from the Constitution, away from the Legislative Branch of government,” Ryan said. “And we want to reset the balance of power, so that people and the Constitution are rightfully restored.
Ryan also denied that he called Trump a “racist,” saying he only said Trump made a comment that was racist.
Pelley replied: “Well, I’m not sure there’s a great deal of daylight between those two definitions. But he definitely called you ineffective and disloyal. Have you patched it up?”
“Yeah, we have. We’re fine. We’re not looking back. That’s behind us. We’re way beyond that,” Ryan said. “Now we’re talking about how do we fix this country’s problems?”
Ryan went on to talk about his plans for passing legislation in the term to come. He said he first plans to do away with Obamacare, and said he is seeking for Congress to repeal it first.
But Ryan said he would not pull the rug out from under the 20 million people who are now covered.
“We want to make sure that we have a good transition period, so that people can get better coverage at a better price,” Ryan said.
He said Republicans are seeking to replace Obamacare with “patient–centered healthcare that gets everybody access to affordable healthcare coverage. So they can buy what they what they want to buy.”
Ryan said people will still get coverage regardless of preexisting conditions, and children will still stay on their parents’ plans until the age of 26.
“We will give everyone access to affordable healthcare coverage,” Ryan said.
Ryan said further that he wants to focus on “economic growth and growing the economy,” and on developing “smarter regulations that actually help us grow jobs in this country.”
“We want to have good stewardship and conversation of the environment and economic growth. We have a real economic growth problem in America. We are limping along. Wages are flat. And jobs aren’t being created near to the extent that they could and should be,” Ryan said, “so we think regulatory relief is very, very important. And that’s something we’re going to work on day one.”
Ryan further added that he can now support Trump’s changed positions on immigration, from deporting all 11 million illegal immigrants to a focus only on those who have committed crimes, and from building a wall all along the Mexican border to something less.
“No, we’re not working on a deportation force. Here’s what we’re working on with respect to immigration, securing our border, enforcing our current laws. He talked about criminal aliens. That’s just enforcing laws for people who came here illegally, who came and committed violent crimes. We should enforce those laws,” Ryan said. “But really, what we’re focused on is securing our border.”
Ryan also discussed plans for a tax cut for the middle class and a cut in corporate tax rates, as well as Trump’s plans for a $1 trillion infrastructure program. He also discussed his plans for changes in Medicare, which he said will go bankrupt “in about 10 years.”
He added that he did not see Trump’s Republican nomination coming, and thought the odds were in Democrat Hillary Clinton’s favor in the general election.
“I was a little surprised, pleasantly so,” Ryan said.