Speaker Paul Ryan met with the chaplain for the US House of Representatives, the Rev. Pat Conroy, earlier Tuesday morning for a cup of coffee, Ryan told reporters at his weekly news conference, following a high-profile resignation — and a rescinding of that resignation — by the spiritual leader.
Ryan, who is Catholic, expressed confidence that he would be able to move past the controversy with Conroy, a Jesuit priest.
“Absolutely,” Ryan said Tuesday. “We talked about how to improve the services going forward. We’re going to keep talking. I think we can ultimately make improvements so that everybody has access to the pastoral services they’re looking for.”
Though he did not mention the dismissal directly, the speaker added, “I feel good about where things are.”
Not all members of the House Republican conference feel as if the controversy has passed.
Rep. Peter King, a New York Republican, told reporters as he exited the weekly meeting of House GOP members, that he still had questions about why the chaplain was asked by Ryan’s office to resign but added that he was happy to see him back on Capitol Hill.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle grew frustrated at the end of April after learning that Conroy was asked to resign by Ryan’s office. Last week, while Congress was in recess, Conroy rescinded his resignation and alleged that Ryan’s chief of staff suggested to him “maybe it’s time that we had a Chaplain that wasn’t a Catholic,” a claim Ryan’s chief of staff denied.