House Speaker Paul Ryan said he’s not worried about having Steve Bannon, a frequent Ryan antagonist, working in a Donald Trump White House.
"I’ve never met the guy," Ryan said Sunday morning on CNN’s "State of the Union." "I don’t know Steve Bannon, so I have no concerns – I trust Donald’s judgment…"
Now Ryan, R-Wis., will find out if that trust is warranted.
Trump Sunday afternoon named Bannon - the controversial conservative firebrand executive editor of the Breitbart website and CEO of Trump’s presidential campaign - his chief strategist and counselor to the president.
Trump also tapped Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus as White House Chief of Staff.
Bannon’s Breitbart website has made no secret of its disdain for Ryan, often questioning his conservative credentials.
Sunday was no exception. The website ran a story with a lead that read "Removing illegal immigrants will not be a focus of a Trump administration, says Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, a longstanding supporter of open borders and cheap labor."
The story centered on Ryan telling CNN’s Jake Tapper Sunday that Congress isn’t planning to create a massive immigration deportation force.
"I’m a person who believes that, for the undocumented, we have to come up with a solution that doesn’t involve mass deportation, that involves giving people the ability to get right with the law, to come and earn a legal status while we fix the rest of legal immigration."
"In having both Bannon and Priebus in the White House is like having two angels on his shoulders," said Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law School poll. "The question is which one will he listen to?"
Priebus, who’s a Wisconsinite like Ryan, brings establishment Republican credentials to the chief of staff position. Through the RNC, he is well-connected to Capitol Hill Republican lawmakers and GOP donors. Bannon, Franklin said, represents the party’s insurgent wing that helped propel Trump to the White House.
Bannon’s appointment gave some establishment Republicans pause Sunday.
Still, Bannon’s appointment “shows that Trump is willing to have people on both sides of the Republican Party – the Breitbart insurrectionists and the Republican establishment," Franklin said.
"Trump couldn’t abandon those followers," he added.
Franklin and others contend that Priebus’ presence in the White House bodes well for Ryan and congressional Republicans.
"It’s probably a good thing for the working relationship with Congress, which is good for all of us," Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., told McClatchy Sunday night. "Priebus understands how the wheels and machinery of Congress."