President Bush considers House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (search) a friend and hopes to keep working with him, White House spokesman Scott McClellan (search) said Monday.

McClellan was asked if Bush was among those who believe the embattled Texas Republican should resign, or at least answer allegations of ethical misconduct.

"Majority Leader DeLay is someone the president considers a friend. And he is someone he has worked closely with to get things done in Washington," McClellan said.

"The president looks forward to continuing to work closely with the majority leader to get things done on behalf of the American people," McClellan said. "We support the work that he's doing."

DeLay has come under criticism from Democrats and even some of his GOP colleagues, who say his continuing ethics problems are harming the GOP.

Rep. Christopher Shays (search), R-Conn., has called on DeLay to resign from his leadership position. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, the No. 3 Republican in the Senate, has said DeLay needs to answer questions about his ethics.

DeLay has been dogged by reports of possible ethics violations, including questions about his overseas travel, campaign payments to family members and his connections to lobbyists who are under investigation.