President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday praised House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who once accused Trump of “textbook” racism and canceled a joint appearance after a video was unearthed showing the then-reality television star bragging about sexual assault.
“He’s like a fine wine,” Trump said of Ryan Tuesday. “Every day goes by, I get to appreciate his genius more and more.”
A crowd at a West Allis, Wisconsin, stop on Trump’s “thank you tour” booed the mention of Ryan, who repeatedly tried to distance himself from Trump during the presidential campaign.
Ryan briefly introduced Trump at the rally. He thanked him for winning Wisconsin, the first GOP presidential victory since “before I had my driver’s license,” Ryan said.
It was a turnabout from just two months ago, when Ryan disinvited Trump from a Wisconsin GOP event a day after The Washington Post published the infamous video of Trump bragging about grabbing women by their genitals.
Ryan later declared he would no longer defend Trump — though he continued to endorse his candidacy. That followed several months of Ryan attempting to distance himself from Trump and repeatedly condemning Trump’s remarks.
The GOP event in October went on without Trump, but Ryan was booed by Trump supporters after awkwardly tiptoeing around the subject of the GOP nominee. Ryan wouldn’t even mention Trump by name.
Ryan was again scheduled to appear with Trump just days before the election. That rally also was canceled.
Since the election, Ryan has thawed, meeting with Trump on Capitol Hill and at Trump Tower in New York. In an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” this month, Ryan shrugged off his past criticisms of Trump.
“Let bygones be bygones,” he said.
Trump on Tuesday called Ryan “terrific,” but warned he might change his mind.
“If he ever goes against me, I’m not going to say that,” Trump said.