HILLSBORO, Ore. — House Speaker Paul Ryan deflected questions about President Trump's criticisms of Arizona's Republican senators Wednesday, saying simply that Republicans must stay united to pass their agenda.

"I think the president feels that's a strategy that works for him," Ryan said of Trump's attacks on Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, speaking at an event at Intel's campus.

"I think it's important that we all stay unified as Republicans to complete our agenda," Ryan said.

Ryan's hopes for passing a sweeping tax reform bill rest on a two-vote Republican majority in the upper chamber.

On Tuesday, Trump continued to jab McCain and Flake at a high-profile rally in their home state. Although he refrained from criticizing the senators by name, he blamed McCain, who returned to Washington for the healthcare votes after being diagnosed with brain cancer, for the Republican healthcare bill falling one vote short of passage, and referred to Flake as "weak on borders, weak on crime."

"We disagree on a few issues," Ryan said of Flake and McCain, "but nevertheless we have a very good working relationship. It's very important for us to stay unified, but I think the president is employing a strategy that he thinks is effective for him."