Paul Ryan and John Boehner stand in the House Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. (Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP)
Newly elected House Speaker Paul Ryan says it’s time for his fellow House Republicans to “take some policy risks” on an ambitious conservative agenda that includes comprehensive tax reform, an overhaul of federal poverty programs and the replacement of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature health care law better known as Obamacare.
But first things first: Ryan needs to get the cigarette smell left by his predecessor, John Boehner, out of the speaker’s office. Seriously.
“They have these ozone machines, apparently, that you can detoxify the environment,” Ryan said in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday. “But I’m going to have to work on the carpeting in here.”
The Wisconsin congressman, who’s been known to sleep in his office at night when working late on Capitol Hill, described the smell in the speaker’s office in a way most nonsmokers can relate to.
“You know when you ever go to a hotel room or get a rental car that has been smoked? That’s what this smells like,” he said.
Ryan, whose CrossFit workout regimen is well-documented, was well aware of Boehner’s nicotine habit.
“I try to sit as far away from him as I can in meetings that I know are going to be stressful,” Ryan told Time magazine last year. “I just hate getting that smell in my clothes.”
On CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Ryan said, “It’s time we take some policy risks by showing the people what we really believe, who we are, and how we can fix this country’s great problems.”
Chief among them for Ryan is Obamacare.
“I think we should say what Obamacare replacement looks like,” he said. “People don’t like Obamacare.”
And Ryan vowed not to work with Obama on immigration reform because the president bypassed Congress and issued an executive action last fall to grant temporary legal status to millions of illegal immigrants at risk of being deported.
“I think it would be a ridiculous notion to try and work on an issue like this with a president we simply cannot trust on this issue,” Ryan said. “He tried to go it alone, circumventing the legislative process with his executive orders, so that is not in the cards. I think if we reach consensus on how best to achieve border and interior enforcement security, I think that’s fine.”
In July, Ryan blasted Donald Trump’s controversial comments on immigration, saying the real estate mogul did not “speak for the Republican Party” when he suggested most Mexicans crossing the border into the United States were criminals and rapists.
But the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee also vowed to support whoever is the 2016 GOP presidential nominee — even if it’s Donald Trump.
“Every one of these people would be a far better president than Hillary Clinton,” Ryan said on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday. “We’re having a good primary process. It’s cathartic. It’s helpful.”