Speaker Paul Ryan makes 2 stops in Wisconsin, sidesteps questions about James Comey

DELAVAN -- During a stop in his congressional district Friday, House Speaker Paul Ryan sidestepped questions about President Donald Trump's tweets or the firing of FBI Director James Comey.

"I’ve decided I’m not going to comment on the tweets of the day, or of the hour," Ryan said.

President Trump tweeted earlier Friday that Comey, whom he fired earlier this week, "better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press." Democrats criticized the tweet as an obvious threat to the former FBI director, and many questioned whether the president is recording his Oval Office conversations.

Ryan told reporters during a news conference at Prestige Paints in Delavan that President Trump had the right to fire Comey.

Ryan said the president has never asked him for a loyalty pledge -- as the president reported asked Comey for, and Comey declined -- and said he's never given thought to whether his own conversations with President Trump are recorded.

Congressional and FBI investigations into possible ties between Russia and the president's 2016 campaign will continue, Ryan said.

"There have been no allegations that there has been collusion," Ryan said. "But, as I said to you a minute earlier, let these investigations go where the facts may lead."

Ryan toured the shop floor at Prestige Paints before taking questions from Delavan-Darien High School students who participate in a program at the company.

Earlier, Ryan took pre-submitted questions from students at Badger High School in Lake Geneva. The students didn't ask about President Trump or current events during the 20-minute Q&A, and the speaker never said the president's name.

A few dozen protesters gathered on the high school grounds, chanting and holding signs.

The demonstrators criticized Ryan for a lack of in-person town halls in his congressional district since he became speaker in October 2015.

"We’re his voters, taxpayers, constituents, and we would really like to have him understand our opinions," said Gay Baldwin from Twin Lakes.

Prior to becoming speaker, Ryan became famous for holding public town halls featuring PowerPoint slides. Friday, the speaker acknowledged that he has decided to speak to constituents in different ways through telephone town halls and events at local businesses like Prestige Paints.

"I want to make sure my constituents don’t go into an agitated and harassing environment," Ryan said. "I want to engage with constituents in a way that they feel comfortable as well."

At Badger High School, Ryan criticized a general lack of civility on social media and encouraged students to be thoughtful.

"I try not to look at Twitter too often these days, to be honest with you," Ryan joked, drawing laughter from the students.