JANESVILLE -- "The most incredible political feat I've seen in my lifetime." That is how Speaker Paul Ryan summed up the Donald Trump victory in the race for president.
Ryan congratulated President-elect Donald Trump Wednesday, November 9th on his victory, saying he will lead "a unified Republican government."
"Donald Trump heard a voice out in this country that no one else heard," Ryan said in remarks delivered in Janesville. "We won more seats than anyone expected, and much of that is thanks to Donald Trump."
Ryan said Trump deserves tremendous credit for Republicans surging to power. He confirmed that he will run for speaker again -- meaning he and Trump now have to get down to the business of governing.
"We all need to re-dedicate ourselves to making America great and making it a more perfect union," Ryan said.
Ryan acknowledged that Trump is now top dog in the Republican Party that will control the House, the Senate and the White House. With Trump appointees, the U.S. Supreme Court will also be conservative leaning.
"I think the mistakes we made in the past is we didn't seize the opportunity when it presented itself. The opportunity is now here," Ryan said. "The opportunity is to go big, go bold, and get things done for the people of this country."
Ryan refused to campaign with or defend Trump just last month. The two have often butted heads this year. The speaker said Wednesday he talked with the president-elect twice since Trump's victory Tuesday night.
"For those people who are concerned, this is a time to unify. This is a time to heal, again. Our president elect set the right tone (Tuesday) night with his speech which was to be magnanimous, to be presidential, and to bring people together," Ryan said.
Ryan no doubt realizes that all of his policy goals are in front of him now -- if the Republican Party that fractured over Trump can now unify around him. Those policy goals include a repeal of the national health care law.
On the Senate side
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who will return as the leader of the Senate after Tuesday's results, began fielding questions about the most pressing items likely to face lawmakers and Trump as they take control of the government in January.
McConnell, who led a blockade against President Barack Obama's selection of Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court, would not say Wednesday how he would react if Senate Democrats used the same strategy against Donald Trump's pick for the high court.
"The new president will fill the vacancy. I expect it to be handled in the way these court appointments are handled and I would not anticipate any particular strategy the Democrats might employ," McConnell said.
McConnell, like Ryan, had a frosty relationship with Trump throughout the election. He would not say Wednesday how he would vote on Trump's signature border wall if legislation was sent to the Senate.
"I want to try to achieve border security in whatever way is most effective," McConnell said.
McConnell and Ryan also said repealing Obamacare was in their sights, and would be a top priority for the new Republican-led government.
But McConnell also cautioned that the Democrats' push for health care and other priorities when they were in a similar situation eight years ago, is what led to them overreaching and, ultimately, a voter backlash beginning in 2010.
"I think overreaching after an election, generally speaking, is a mistake," McConnell said.