Republicans are getting a lot of heat for their failure to pass the American Healthcare Act (or “Trumpcare” as many prefer to call it), and we all know what that means in politics; It’s time to play the blame game. President Donald Trump attempted to control the narrative by personally calling reporter Robert Costa as soon as the bill was scrapped.
Trump told Costa (who works for the Washington Post) that it wasn’t Speaker Paul Ryan’s fault, saying:
“I don’t blame Paul. He worked very hard on this. I don’t blame Paul at all.”
A recent article from Breitbart News tells a very different story. The site claims that according to anonymous White House officials, talks are in progress to replace Paul Ryan as the Speaker of the House. This story has not been verified by any other news outlet, or any other credible source for that matter.
Whether or not the story is true, it is clearly meant to plant seeds of doubt about Paul Ryan. Given Steve Bannon’s connections to Breitbart, it’s unlikely that anything is published there that Trump wouldn’t approve of. Even stories that appear to contain leaked, confidential information ultimately serve him in some way.
This isn’t the first time that Breitbart writers have criticized Ryan. Several weeks ago, the site posted leaked audio of him from last October shunning the idea of any kind of allegiance with then candidate Trump. It’s easy to speculate that this was a preemptive move to set him up as the fall guy for Trumpcare.
Fox News has also often served as a messenger for Trump, and it seems that they don’t intend to cut the House Speaker much slack either. On Saturday, former prosecutor Jeanine Pirro delivered an omen for Paul Ryan on her show “Justice with Judge Jeanine”.
Trump posted this mysterious tweet before the show aired:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 25, 2017
It was immediately obvious to viewers why he had asked everyone to tune in. Jeanine Pirro opened her show by blasting Paul Ryan’s legislative decisions and saying that he should step down from his post as Speaker of the House.
Judge Jeanine really let him have it, saying:
“Paul Ryan needs to step down. The reason? He failed to deliver the votes on his health care bill … The one that he had seven years to work on … The one that had to be pulled to prevent the embarrassment of not having enough votes to pass.”
Pirro defended Trump and insisted that the blame be placed squarely on Ryan’s shoulders, saying:
“I want to be clear. This is not on President Trump. No one expected a business man to completely understand the nuances, the complicated ins and outs of Washington and its legislative process.”
The Fox News host denies speaking with Trump before the show, but many journalists are finding it hard to believe that this was purely coincidence. It will be interesting to see if other pundits from the network echo her sentiments over the next few days (hint: they probably will).
Ryan, of course, would only be the latest casualty from Trump’s administration. After the scandals involving Jeff Sessions and Michael Flynn, it seems that anything could happen in the White House these days. This healthcare debacle is hardly surprising given the current political atmosphere.
In an official White House statement, Trump had this to say about the experience:
“I think this is something — it certainly was an interesting period of time. We all learned a lot. We learned a lot about loyalty.”
Feature Image: Al Drago/New York Times