Paul Ryan breaks with Trump, says James Comey isn't a 'nut job'

House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday pushed back on President Donald Trump’s characterization of former FBI director James Comey as a “nut job.”

“Yeah, I don’t agree with that,” Ryan told Axios’ Mike Allen on Wednesday. “And he’s not.”

Trump reportedly referred to the former FBI director he fired earlier this month as a “nut job” in a meeting with Russian officials in the Oval Office.

Ryan said Trump’s best presidential quality is his “energy” and “engagement.”

“When he sees a goal he wants to achieve, health care is a perfect example, he just focuses on it. He has no pretension about him,” Ryan said.

In terms of healthcare, Ryan said that narrowly passing the AHCA through the House was “very cathartic,” though he said he accepts Republicans “will get hit” politically.

The Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan congressional arm, will release the results of its latest score for the AHCA on Wednesday. The AHCA has been remarkably unpopular, with recent polls showing only 21% of Americans support the final version of the bill.

“We have to intervene to fix this problem because real people are actually getting hurt,” Ryan said. “Let’s just buck up as a society and pay for the catastrophic illnesses.”

CBO scores for previous versions of the bill estimated that 24 million people could lose health coverage by 2026 compared to the current baseline.

Ryan also praised Trump’s proposed budget — which he started rolling out on Monday — calling it “refreshing” that Trump wants to “balance the budget.”

Trump’s budget, however, has faced near universal scorn in Congress. Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, called Trump’s budget “dead on arrival,” though he noted that “almost every president’s budget proposal is basically dead on arrival.”

As for Congress, Ryan said most Americans think “everything is in chaos.”

“It really actually isn’t. We’re focused and determined to get our work done,” Ryan said. He added that the Republican’s chances of keeping the House in 2018 are “excellent.”

“We’re in the midst of keeping our promises,” Ryan said.

More from Jeremy Berke:

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