Speaker Paul Ryan

Speaker Paul Ryan

Whether it’s called “Ryancare,” “Trumpcare” or simply the American Health Care Act, the GOP’s replacement plan for Obamacare is turning into a political debacle. And Paul Ryan’s primary challenger is pinning the blame for the disaster solely on the speaker of the U.S. House.

Recent findings from Public Policy Polling suggest less than a quarter of voters support the AHCA. Several moderate Republicans are also running for cover after the Congressional Budget Office’s report showed 24 million Americans would lose their health insurance under the AHCA.

Conservatives are also in revolt, with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., a physician, calling for Republicans to “smash” what he terms “Obamacare Lite” in an article on Breitbart. Paul seems to pin the blame more on Ryan than on Trump, suggesting Trump is being “taken for a ride through the swamp right now.”

Political analyst Byron York argues the health care battle is distracting from Trump’s core policy proposals on trade and jobs and has made him “a prisoner to the House Republican leadership.”

As Katie McHugh pointed out in Breitbart, the bill would also increase health care costs for white working class voters in critical Rust Belt states, the very swing voters that powered Trump’s White House victory.

Paul Nehlen, who challenged Paul Ryan in a congressional primary last year, believes the speaker of the House has already fatally botched the rollout of the Republicans’ health care plan.

“Ryan should absolutely resign as speaker,” he said. “Ryan clearly doesn’t speak for the millions of Americans who fought tooth and nail to elect Donald Trump as our president. Quite the contrary, Ryan speaks for the ‘Never Trump’ faction of neoconservatives dwelling in that ‘swamp’ Donald Trump promised to drain.

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“But honestly, I don’t see Ryan relinquishing the role. If he refuses to resign, the House should move to vacate the position and elect a new speaker of the House.”

Yet some wonder if taking out Ryan is actually part of a long-term strategy by some in the White House, perhaps even President Trump himself. White House senior strategist Steve Bannon’s former website, Breitbart, has been relentlessly criticizing what it terms “RyanCare” and “Obamacare 2.0.”

David Frum, a former George W. Bush speechwriter and fierce critic of President Trump, suggests if the health care bill fails, Ryan could be forced out and a more “Trumpist” speaker could be installed.

Breitbart reported audio from an October conference call between Ryan and House Republicans in which the House speaker declared he would not support Trump.

“I am not going to defend Donald Trump – not now, not in the future,” Ryan says on the call.

Nehlen argues the tape shows Ryan never wanted Trump to win and has aimed to sabotage the commander-in-chief from day one.

“It’s pretty damning evidence that Ryan had every intention of undermining President Trump from even before the election, continuing to this day,” Nehlen told WND. “For Ryan to suggest that his plan represents the Donald Trump or GOP health-care solution is disingenuous, especially given the broad distancing of rank and file House members from the document. Furthermore, I don’t recall President Trump positioning the repeal of Obamacare in such a way that that it would blow up the Republican Party. Quite the contrary. President Trump has bent over backwards to unite the party.

“Despite the fact then candidate Trump ultimately endorsed Ryan in my congressional primary race, I never once took it as an endorsement of Ryan’s character or Ryan’s policies. Candidate Trump was working to unite the party. That’s the reason candidate Trump extended an endorsement. Speaker Ryan, however, is not a gracious or magnanimous man. Speaker Ryan took that endorsement and slammed the door in candidate Trump’s face. President Trump won Wisconsin despite Speaker Ryan because of supporters like myself and thousands of others who worked tirelessly on his behalf, on America’s behalf.”

Nehlen argues President Trump faces a critical test. He believes if Ryan remains as speaker of the House, the new president will squander his political capital and fail to implement his agenda.

“It could approach gridlock,” Nehlen predicted of Ryan’s Republican House of Representatives. “President Trump and his supporters, myself included, worked extraordinarily hard to win the presidency. With Ryan as speaker, every effort will take longer. Every effort will be tied to something Ryan’s donors desire. We’ll be trying to do things two or three times because Ryan focuses on Ryan first, instead of America first. And this country does not have time to waste, like Paul Ryan seems determined to do.”

The Wisconsin businessman believes President Trump faces a long fight with his own party even before he can implement his policies. He urges Trump supporters not to become disheartened or impatient.

“I’m neither disappointed nor discouraged,” Nehlen said of President Trump’s tenure thus far. “Look, we knew this was going to be a battle. Never for an instant did I think winning the White House would instantaneously change everything for the better. President Trump was correct to paint that word picture with the phrase ‘drain the swamp.’

“Unfortunately, every entrenched swamp dweller can look to Speaker Ryan as their dark knight. We the people elected a white knight in Donald Trump. We are going to continue to support President Trump’s efforts. And unlike what Paul Ryan showed in that leaked conference call, we aren’t going to distance ourselves from the president every time it gets difficult.”

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