House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters Thursday that President Trump was “very apologetic” after promoting Jeanine Pirro’s show hours before the Fox News host opened with a call for Ryan to resign for failing to deliver on repeal and replacement of Obamacare.
Nevertheless, the House speaker has been under fire since long before Trump’s inauguration. The Hill reported just days before the November election, “Chatter is growing louder on Capitol Hill that Paul Ryan’s days as Speaker are numbered.”
The Capitol Hill paper said it was “not just the usual Freedom Caucus members who are pushing for change at the top; some more mainstream Republicans from safe GOP districts could pull their support over Ryan’s handling of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.”
The day after Ryan’s American Health Care Act was withdrawn, a Trump-supporting Democrat who helped flip key Democrat voters in the battleground states of North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan called on the speaker to step down.
Rep. Billy Bova, D-Miss., said it’s “time for him to go like it was time for [former Speaker John] Boehner to go like it was time for [former Speaker Nancy] Pelosi to go,” Breitbart News reported.
Bova told the “Breitbart News Saturday” radio show Trump is president “because of 70-something-thousand registered mostly lifetime Democrat voters in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan — and those people bought into President Trump hard and were for him before they even supported him and voted for him because they love his America First populism.”
“Our jobs first, our factories first, our legal citizens first, our military and veterans first,” he said.
“Those people understand that the establishment globalist corporatists of both parties — Republicans and Democrats — have sold them out. They’ve sold out our working and middle class here in America. They’ve sold out our country, people born here in America who were raised up and played by the rules and paid their taxes and are just looking for a level playing field.”
He said those people realize that Obamacare “should be repealed but you’ve got to do it in a way that gives people choice.”
“It’s all about competition. The insurance companies have a monopoly. I live in the state of Mississippi — one health insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield, has 60 to 65 percent of the health insurance business.”
David Bozell, president of the public policy group ForAmerica, is calling for the entire House Republican leadership to step down, the Washington Times reported.
Bozell argued Republicans had eight years to craft a repeal bill and a GOP replacement, and the first time they were in a position to hold a nonsymbolic vote they failed.
“Not only does the leadership lack the political will, it demonstrates a consistent inability to market conservative principles and policy,” Bozell said.
WND CEO Joseph Farah, in his daily column Monday, called on Ryan to resign after “promising President Trump his way was the only way to get a bill approved by the House and Senate.”
May I speak frankly about what we just endured over recent weeks with regard to the House debate over Ryancare?
House Speaker Paul Ryan is simply a non-smoking, better-looking, non-alcoholic version of John Boehner who had no desire to overturn Obamacare because he is an establishment Republican who detests conservatives more than Democrats and is a sellout to the insurance companies with little regard for the American people who would be hit with skyrocketing health-care insurance premiums had the bill he crafted been passed by Congress and signed by President Trump.”
That was a mouthful, but it needed to be said in one deep breath.
If he were a man of honor, he would resign in disgrace as speaker after promising President Trump his way was the only way to get a bill approved by the House and Senate.
That was never the case.
Hours before the “Justice with Judge Jeanine” show aired Saturday night, Trump tweeted: Watch @JudgeJeanine on @FoxNews tonight at 9:00 P.M.”
It was the first time Trump promoted the show since he was interviewed on it last August.
The Hollywood Reporter said Fox News claimed it didn’t speak with Trump about the subject of the show.
Ryan said Thursday on “CBS This Morning” that Trump told him he had no idea Pirro was going to talk about him, thinking she was going to deliver a monologue about Russia.
“So, really, it was completely coincidental,” Ryan said.
In her monologue, Pirro charged Ryan had “failed to deliver the votes on his healthcare bill.”
“Paul Ryan needs to step down as speaker of the House,” Pirro said. “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.”
She later said: “I want to be clear. This is not on President Trump. No one expected a businessman to completely understand the nuances, the complicated ins and outs of Washington and its legislative process.”
Trump transition team member Anthony Scaramucci told CNN that Trump had no idea Pirro would demand Ryan resign.
“It’s a coincidence,” he said. “Jeanine said last night on her show they didn’t talk about that, and she’s a very honest person. I think it’s a coincidence.”
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus addressed Trump’s promotion of Pirro’s show with Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.”
“Well, first of all, I will go on record, we do love Judge Jeanine, and so does the president. I think it was more coincidental, Chris,” he said.
When further pressed by Wallace, Priebus said, “I did not talk to the president about the tweet. I’m just telling the truth. There is no preplanning here. … [Trump] loves Judge Jeanine and he wanted to [do] Judge Jeanine a favor.”
Asked if the president wants Ryan to resign, he replied: “No, he doesn’t. And he’s talked to Paul Ryan yesterday for about an hour. He believes what he said in the Oval Office on Friday. He doesn’t blame Paul Ryan. In fact, he thought Paul Ryan worked really hard. He enjoys his relationship with Paul Ryan, thinks that Paul Ryan is a great speaker of the House.”
The Washington Times reported Sunday that as speculation about Ryan’s status grew, a number of GOP lawmakers quickly issued statements of support.
“Speaker Ryan found himself in a tough position today, but I still believe there isn’t anyone else out there who could do a better job messaging our conference’s diverse views,” said Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, who has considered running for the speakership himself, also backed Ryan.
“Our conference is blessed to be led by a great conservative like Paul Ryan,” Hensarling said. “He’s a man of impeccable integrity who has an unyielding passion for the cause of freedom. He showed phenomenal leadership and negotiated in good faith throughout this process.”
‘Damaged beyond repair
MarketWatch columnist Darrell Delamaide wrote Tuesday that the fact that Ryan did not step down after the health-care bill failure “is not the first sign we’ve had that our particular democracy is profoundly deficient in accountability.”
He said Ryan is “now damaged beyond repair as leader of the House.”
“As the principal author, chief promoter and top House official behind the disastrous American Health Care Act, he has zero credibility with his own party, with the administration, and — for what it’s worth — with the public,” Delamaide wrote.
Slate’s Jordan Weissmann wrote that after the press conference Friday announcing withdrawal of the bill, Ryan “looked and sounded like a hangdog high school football coach spilling out a few defeated platitudes after watching his team get ground into the turf.”
He said the bill’s “demise is an indictment of Paul Ryan that should shatter what’s left of his myth as competent policy thinker or political leader.”