House Republican leader Ryan to stay on as speaker

AFP , Wednesday 9 Nov 2016

Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks to the press November 9, 2016 in Janesville, Wisconsin (Photo: AFP)

US House Speaker Paul Ryan, who had distanced himself from Donald Trump's populist White House run, said Wednesday he looks forward to working with the incoming president.

"I think we are going to hit the ground running," Ryan, the country's top Republican lawmaker, said in his first public comments since Trump's upset victory.

"We had great conversations about how we would work together on the transition," said Ryan, who spoke from his hometown in Janesville, Wisconsin.

Ryan also called for healing, saying the bitterly contested race must now be followed by a period "of redemption, not a time of recrimination."

A spokesman for his office confirmed that Ryan planned to remain on in his powerful leadership role in the House.

"Speaker Ryan plans to remain speaker," spokesman Doug Andres said.

The Republicans also retained their majority in both the House and Senate, defying predictions that Democrats would take control of the Senate along with a Hillary Clinton presidential victory.

But that did not happen, and come January Republicans will control both the White House and Congress.

"We won more seats than anyone expected and much of that is thanks to Donald Trump, (who) provided the kind of coattails that got a lot of people over the finish line," Ryan told reporters.

Ryan had been intensely criticized by several rank-and-file Republicans for refusing to align more closely with Trump during his extraordinary and controversial presidential campaign.

Ryan did not rescind an endorsement of the 70-year-old real estate mogul, but after a 2005 tape emerged early last month in which Trump was heard making lewd remarks about women, the speaker said he would not defend or campaign with Trump for the duration of the race.

"I think our relationship's fine," Ryan said.

"There is no doubt our democracy could be very messy and we do remain a sharply divided country, but now as we do every four years, we have to work to heal the divisions of a long campaign."

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