“Trump hadn’t failed in politics until Reince and Ryan got involved”
Developments on Day 65 of the Trump Administration:
Trump’s Team Lashes Out at Ryan and Priebus Over Healthcare Defeat
Stinging from the failure of the centerpiece legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare, aides of Donald Trump turn against both the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.
A source “close to the White House” summarized, “Trump hadn’t failed in politics until Reince and Ryan got involved.”
The President appeared to implicitly endorse the anti-Ryan campaign with a tweet encouraging people to watch a Saturday night program hosted by commentator Jeanine Pirro on the Fox News Channel:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 25, 2017
Pirro opened the program:
Paul Ryan needs to step down as Speaker of the House. The reason? He failed to deliver the votes on his health care bill, the one trumpeted to repeal and replace Obamacare. The one that he had seven years to work on. The one he hid under lock and key in the basement of Congress. The one that had to be pulled to prevent the embarrassment of not having enough votes to pass.
Trump’s White House has always been split between hard-right ideologues like chief strategist Steve Bannon and pragmatists like Priebus, previously the head of the Republican National Committee. The gap was opened by difficulties over measures such as the “Muslim Ban” on travel to the US, an executive order driven by Bannon but blocked by the courts.
The Administration had hoped that victory for the American Health Care Act would regain the initiative, also overcoming the obstacle of the FBI’s investigation of links between Trump’s associates and Russian officials. The GOP bill, led by Ryan, was expected to clear the House of Representatives easily but ran into opposition from both conservative and moderate Republicans. Despite Trump’s personal lobbying, the legislation was pulled on Friday before it went to a vote.
Other officials turned their fire on Trump, mocked widely for his self-proclaimed nickname “The Closer” and master of the “Art of the Deal” after Friday’s failure.
As the President eventually failed to win over conservatives who wanted tougher measures, one official spoke of the alienation of moderates who worried about the millions of Americans who would lose coverage. He said that at one meeting with the “Tuesday Group,” lawmakers said where they stood on the bill. When Pennsylvania’s Charlie Dent said he was a “no”, Trump replied, “Why am I even talking to you?”
Meanwhile, Bannon reportedly was struggling. “I don’t give a shit what you guys think,” Bannon exclaimed at a Thursday night sit-down with the conservatives of the Freedom Caucus, alienating legislators, a “source familiar with the meeting” said.
Even Trump’s compromise — which stripped provisions for maternity care, mental health treatment, prescription drugs, and emergency services from the bill — was not enough for the Freedom Caucus. Pressed for further changes, Trump snapped, “Forget about the little shit.”
But for Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House and a die-hard Trump defender, the lesson was that the President cannot rely on others like Ryan, “He cannot delegate. The world he wants is so different from what they’ve experienced.”
Trump’s response on Saturday was to play golf, the 12th time in the nine weeks since he became the President.
Observers noted that Barack Obama — frequently derided by Trump for going to the golf course — had not done so at this point in his Presidency.
TOP PHOTO: Donald Trump and Paul Ryan