White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest chuckled in the briefing room today when asked by reporters if President Obama would like to see Rep. Paul Ryan elected as Speaker of the House to replace outgoing Speaker John Boehner.
“It’s unlikely that an endorsement of anybody by me from here would be helpful to any Republican’s candidacy,” he said. “Rather than try to navigate that twisted knot of political complexity, I’m just going to let Republicans decide for themselves who they believe should lead the Republican conference.”
Earnest denounced House conservatives as “small but loud contingent” group of “extremists” holding government hostage. He urged Republicans to stand up to their colleagues and urge them to negotiate with Democrats over the upcoming budget.
“It may mean that they don’t get 100 percent of everything that they want, but that’s the essence of democracy, particularly in an era when there is one party in charge of Congress and another party that’s in charge of the White House,” Earnest said.
Recent reports have suggested that Obama would actually prefer Ryan as Speaker, as he has proven willing to negotiate with Democrats now that Republicans have gained power in Congress.
But Ryan’s press team insists that he is not changing his mind after he refused to run for Speaker in spite of pressure from his former running mate Mitt Romney, as well as House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Speaker John Boehner.