Transcript: Speaker Paul Ryan, Rep. Elise Stefanik on "Face the Nation," October 28, 2018

The following is a transcript of the interview with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York that aired Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, on "Face the Nation."  


JOHN DICKERSON: Why do you think there's not much talk about bipartisanship in the- in the coverage?

SPEAKER RYAN: I don't think it sells for you guys, for the media. You take a look at the bills we pass out of the House, about a thousand bills. It's been one of the most productive sessions of Congress in a generation. And of those roughly thousand bills, over 80 percent of them are bipartisan bills. So we've tackled opioids. We've tackled human trafficking. We've rebuilt the military. // All of those are bipartisan. But they don't get reported. It doesn't sell. So I honestly think, John, it's the hits and the clicks and it's the ratings chase that's on display in America today that says 'when they're fighting each other, that's when you cover it.

JOHN DICKERSON:  So if, if we accept some portion of responsibility for that-- you've seen some of Trump, President Trump's rallies-- do those rallies accentuate the things that unite us-- the bipartisan achievements-- or are they, do they do something very successful in politics--

SPEAKER RYAN: Is get the base running. Yeah.

JOHN DICKESON: --wildly successful, which is sow division in the country?

SPEAKER RYAN: Yeah.

JOHN DICKERSON: Do you see that happening at his rallies?

SPEAKER RYAN: Sometimes, yeah--

JOHN DICKERSON: Sometimes meaning?

SPEAKER RYAN: Well, not always but sometimes. // I worry about tribal identity politics becoming the new norm of how politics is waged. As conservatives we always thought this was sort of a left wing, Alinsky thing. Unfortunately the right practices identity politics now as well. // It's the day and age, it's technology and everything else-- identity politics, which is now being practiced on both sides of the aisle, is unfortunately working. And I think we, as leaders, we got to figure out // how do we make inclusive aspirational politics strategically valuable again? //

JOHN DICKERSON: You've talked about inclusive politics which tries to unify. Does President Trump practice those kind of politics?

SPEAKER RYAN: Sometimes he does and sometimes he doesn't.

JOHN DICKERSON: How, but I mean, come on. Honestly, I mean--

SPEAKER RYAN: No, I mean, sometimes-- look, look, on economic growth, on tax reform, on getting the military and helping veterans-- those are things that he has led us to that have really brought people together. // And he talks about these at his rally, and that is inclusive. //

JOHN DICKERSON: You talk about tribalism. Here's the thing. You leave office and you say to members like the congresswoman who are still in office, 'we've got get, we've got to deal with this tribalism.' Isn't the most effective way to deal with tribalism is to say to your own team--

SPEAKER RYAN: Is to not do it? Yeah.

JOHN DICKERSON: And President Trump has been very effective practicing the politics as they are, not as like some, you know, grad school idea of how they should be. But he's gotten two Supreme Court nominees confirmed. He got the tax cut bill through. So tribalism is working out just fine if it's getting things--

SPEAKRE RYAN: Oh I--

JOHN DICKERSON: if it's getting points on the board.

SPEAKER RYAN: Look, take the tax bill for example, what is that going to do? That's going to create economic growth and opportunity. It's creating more investment-- this-this company right here-- 30 more jobs and higher wages, more investment in their factory to hire even more people. So what does that do? That helps reduce economic anxiety. So to me the best way to combat tribalism is to starve it of its oxygen, which is anxiety-- economic anxiety, security anxiety. And if we can pass policies that help improve people's lives, make them more confident about the future, then they'll be less prone to be- to be swayed by the kind of tribalism identity politics we see these days.

JOHN DICKERSON: But isn't another way, and perhaps a more effective way, is not to give into tribalism when it's convenient--

SPEAKER RYAN: Absolutely.

DICKERSON: In order to get something passed?

SPEAKER RYAN: Yes. Yes, that as well. But what can we do? We can control-- she can control what she says. I can control what I say. She and I don't tweet these things. We say what we say. But also we pass policies that we believe are going to be good for this country and are going to address people's concerns and fears and make them more secure in their lives.

JOHN DICKERSON: Do you think what is more attractive to people who are running is the kind of inclusive, kind of old-style Republican vision that the speaker here is talking about or the grittier tougher highly-successful kind of politics that's transformed the Republican Party that President Trump practices?

REP. STEFANIK: I think this election is going to be focused on results versus resistance. // What I know does not resonate with voters is this resistance effort where regardless of whether you agree with some of the focus of this administration, you're unwilling to work with them. So I think both parties need to address the tribalism that's happening, and the siloing of where we're getting our information is a part of that. //

JOHN DICKERSON: Have you seen efforts to reach out from the president to the other party?

REP. STEFANIK: I think he has reached out. Look at what he's done on opioids. This is an initiative from this administration--

JOHN DICKERSON: But he's also called them evil. How do you reach out and call them evil?

SPEAKER RYAN: You know what they've called him? I mean-- so, but, but look--

JOHN DICKERSON: Well, but isn't that-- so right-

SPEAKER RYAN: That's the tit for the tat.

JOHN DICKERSON: that gets us into this cycle.

SPEAKER RYAN: The tit for the tat. But just, you know, all these bills-- this has been an incredibly productive term of legislation. The president has signed so many new big bold reforms into law, most of which are bipartisan.