Paul Ryan admits he gave up trying to reel Trump in: 'The pissing match doesn’t work'
Paul Ryan discusses cutting taxes in an interview/Screenshot

In a profile piece from the New York Times, outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) conceded that he saw no reason to even attempt to influence President Donald Trump after he was elected.


With Ryan's time in Congress ticking down after choosing to not run for re-election, the fiscal conservative sat down to talk about what he has accomplished as well as the difficulties he encountered after the New York businessman's surprise election in 2016.

Sitting down with the Time's Mark Leibovich, Ryan began his interview -- only to have to stop because Trump was calling him on the phone.

“Ah, jeez,” he told Leibovich as a congressional aide handed him a note saying Trump was on the line. According to Ryan, when he returned from the call, “The president saw me on ‘Fox & Friends.' He said he thought I looked good.”

Ryan confessed phone  calls about TV appearances made up a great many of his interactions with the notoriously TV-obsessed Trump, explaining, "That happens to me a lot."

As Leibovich notes, "Trump and Ryan are stylistic and philosophical opposites: Trump the blunt-force agitator vs. Ryan the think-tank conservative. Trump lashes out while Ryan treads carefully. Ryan still fashions himself a 'policy guy' and a man of ideas," which is why the two part ways when it comes to getting things done in Congress.

During the interview, Ryan admitted that he never thought Trump would actually win the 2016 election, stating, "It was shocking to me, I didn’t see it coming. It threw me off,” before adding he quickly learned to not push back against Trump, and remarking, “I think some people would like me to start a civil war in our party and achieve nothing.”

Ryan was quick to point out that he does speak his mind with Trump in private and feels that he has influenced Trump to the extent that policies under the current administration could be worse.

“Trust me, I’ve stopped this from being much worse” he admitted. “I can look myself in the mirror at the end of the day and say I avoided that tragedy, I avoided that tragedy, I avoided that tragedy. I advanced this goal, I advanced this goal, I advanced this goal.”

But the retiring Republican admitted that he soon learned that Trump could not be completely contained, so he devoted his time to working around the president since his entreaties to the volatile Trump sometimes pushed the president in the opposite direction.

With Leibovich commenting, "Ryan tends to speak of the commander in chief as if he were sharing a coping strategy on dealing with a Ritalin-deprived child," the lawmaker admitted pushing Trump too hard could" boomerang."

“He goes in the other direction, so that’s not effective.” Ryan said, adding, “The pissing match doesn’t work.”

You can read the whole in-depth interview here.