While the White House has been careful to exude an air of confidence ahead of this afternoon's critical for the Trump administration healthcare vote, it should come as no surprise that Trump is preparing a Plan B
"just in case", and as expected, Bloomberg confirms that behind the scenes Trump is planning to blame Ryan in case of an embarrassing defeat this afternoon.
As reported last night, Trump’s senior strategist took the unusual step of traveling to Capitol Hill to deliver an ultimatum: take the vote on Friday, win or lose. Ryan had been carefully trying to build a majority for the bill, and it would be highly unusual for him to call the vote without knowing if it would pass.
"Ryan had little choice but go along with the administration’s gambit."
And while Trump said Friday at the White House that Ryan shouldn’t lose his job if the bill goes down, when 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.
Trump’s core supporters regarded Ryan as at best unimportant during the presidential campaign and at worst a poster child for the sort of establishment, scripted politician they loathed.
Considering the planning that has gone into this scapegoating campaign, one almost wonders if it is not Trump's intention all along to lose the vote, in the process eliminating Ryan with whom he butted heads repeatedly before the election. As Bloomberg adds, "several Trump associates have already laid groundwork to blame the speaker."
“I think Paul Ryan did a major disservice to President Trump, I think the president was extremely courageous in taking on health care and trusted others to come through with a program he could sign off on,” Chris Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax and a long-time friend of Trump’s, said in an interview last week. “The President had confidence Paul Ryan would come up with a good plan and to me, it is disappointing.”
And just in case Ryan is an insufficient sacrifice, a second fall guy appears to be Bannon's nemesis at the White House, Reince Priebus:
A Trump associate who requested anonymity to discuss the president’s views on the matter said that White House chief of staff Reince Priebus may also be imperiled.
Even if the vote - or Ryan - survives this afternoon's vote, Bloomberg ends off with a relevant observation:
Still, Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and top White House aides had been working closely with Ryan on a health bill since the election and were heavily involved in negotiations to reach a deal, according to a senior Republican aide. That leaves questions about whether they’ll be able to cooperate to pull the party together on other tough issues, crucially a tax overhaul that Trump has said is a personal priority.
So is today's vote, which Trump is shoving down the throats of conservative holdouts, many of whom have warned they will not change their vote, just a complex charade to discredit the House speaker and rellieve him of his job? Find out some time around market close today.