President Trump Praises Paul Ryan, but Aides Are Privately Blaming him for Failure of Healthcare Bill

In public, President Donald Trump is standing by House Speaker Paul Ryan over the failed Obamacare replacement bill.

“I like Speaker Ryan; he worked very, very hard,” Trump said in the Oval Office after Ryan on Friday pulled the legislation from the House floor for lack of support. Instead, the president pinned the responsibility on Democrats.

Behind the scenes, though, the president’s aides blame Ryan for the bill’s embarrassing defeat, which stymied a Republican goal for more than seven years, a senior administration official said.

Asked whether Trump, Ryan, or the Freedom Caucus chairman, North Carolina Republican Mark Meadows, would be most to blame if the bill fails, the administration official said Ryan. The official insisted on anonymity to discuss internal White House deliberations.

Ryan inoculated himself somewhat from bearing sole blame for the bill’s failure; in the middle of the day Friday, he went to the White House to tell Trump personally that there weren’t enough votes. Later, Ryan recommended the bill be pulled from the floor and Trump agreed.

Several House Republicans including the chairman of the Appropriations Committee announced in the morning that they would vote against the measure, making its prospects grim.

Trump and his aides were heavily invested in the legislation. On Thursday, Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, took the unusual step of traveling to Capitol Hill to deliver an ultimatum: take a vote on Friday, win or lose. Ryan had sought to carefully build a majority for the bill, and it would be highly unusual for him to call the vote without knowing if it would pass.

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SOURCE: Jennifer Jacobs and Shannon Pettypiece
Bloomberg