The Hill

By Scott Wong
12/26/15 – 12:02 PM EST

Outside the Beltway, the right is livid with new Speaker Paul Ryan’s trillion-dollar spending deal with Democrats.

Conservative pundit Ann Coulter says Ryan, just seven weeks on the job, is ripe for a primary challenge. “Paul Ryan Betrays America,” blared a headline on the conservative site Breibart.com. And Twitter is littered with references to the Wisconsin Republican’s new “Muslim beard.”

Ryan is refusing to let the attacks go unanswered and is using his megaphone as the nation’s top elected Republican to try to drown out the chorus of conservative critics.

After Congress passed the nearly $2 trillion government funding and tax-cuts package last week, Ryan touted conservative victories in a roundtable with Capitol Hill reporters, on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, and again during a trio of interviews with friendly conservative talk radio hosts Michael Medved, Hugh Hewitt and his old political mentor, Bill Bennett.

“He will continue to talk directly to conservatives throughout the country as he has always done,” a Ryan aide said.

Ryan has repeatedly stressed that the bipartisan funding agreement lifted the 40-year federal ban on crude oil exports and renewed hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks for U.S. businesses and families.

But in a nod to the critics, Ryan has also emphasized that he “inherited” the flawed omnibus from his predecessor, ousted Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), and that the cake was “already baked” by the time he was handed the reins in late October.

Those arguments have done little to sway some of Ryan’s critics, particularly on conservative talk radio.

Laura Ingraham denounced the spending package as an “omni-bust” and said Ryan should be “regarded as a declared enemy of the Base.” Mark Levin said Ryan is “already a disaster” and criticized the funding package for increasing the number of visas for foreign workers.

Criticism has also come from Rush Limbaugh, the king of conservative talk radio, who declared that the GOP sold the country “down the river.”

For any GOP establishment leader, outrage from the right is unavoidable, with the deal making that comes with the job often conflicing with the desires of the base.

But that anger has become especially vitriolic and personal recently.

As Ryan and Obama were putting the final touches on the spending deal, the now-bearded Speaker told the president that some on the right have accused him of being a Muslim, Al Hunt recounted in a Bloomberg View column.

“The president, who has long faced the same absurd allegation, chuckled,” Hunt wrote.

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