Defenders of President Donald Trump were taking aim at House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) in the hours before Republicans were scheduled to vote Friday on their troubled Obamacare repeal bill.
Both Drudge Report and Breitbart News, conservative news sites that full-throatedly backed Trump’s campaign, prominently criticized the American Health Care Act and distanced the White House from it on their homepages.
Pundit Ann Coulter brought her characteristic light touch to the conversation, telling Fox News’ Tucker Carlson in a late Wednesday interview that Trump was following “Paul Ryan’s priorities.”
“I will not hold the Emperor God Trump responsible for this Obamacare-lite bill, but for Pete’s sake,” Coulter exclaimed.
“House Sets Risky Health Vote: Pass It To Know What’s In It,” read the splash at the Drudge Report Thursday morning, below a photograph of a sheepish-looking Ryan. The sub-headline was a not-so-subtle reference to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) 2010 remark about Obamacare, which she said voters needed to weigh after the “fog of the controversy” over the law had dissipated. Her comment was seized on for for years by critics who said the law was overly complicated.
Drudge later updated the photo in the splash to one of Trump and Ryan, but another article visible at the top of the site was a link to a New York Times story about the President regretting taking up Obamacare repeal before other priorities like tax cuts, putting the blame for the bill’s uncertain future at Ryan’s feet.
Breitbart, which has waged an all-out war on “Ryancare” since the bill’s first draft was made public, was similarly defensive towards Trump, featuring a story about the site’s former Executive Chair-turned-chief White House Strategist Steve Bannon’s distaste for the legislation.
“Report: Steve Bannon Privately Pans Ryan Bill — Written By The Insurance Industry,” read the headline, which linked to a writeup of a New York Magazine story on Bannon’s private concerns about the bill.
Trump has publicly gone to bat for the AHCA, which he said he backed “100 percent,” although he had little involvement in working out the policy details. After House leaders had to scuttle plans to vote on the AHCA Thursday, Trump declared he was finished trying to negotiate with recalcitrant members and ordered lawmakers to bring the bill to the floor Friday, whether or not there were enough votes for it to pass.
h/t Oliver Darcy