- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 14, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Wow — this is like a “Girls Gone Wild” tape for the political world. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, the Republican public servant from Wisconsin, was captured on audio during the campaign season saying he’d never defend Donald Trump. Not then. Not ever.

Ostensibly, the not ever aspect includes today — and that means Ryan’s whole help-Trump-with-Obamacare persona is basically bunk. A show. A deception.

Title it: The two faces of Paul Ryan. One, cheerful servant of the people. The other? Saboteur.

This, from October: “There are basically two things that I want to make really clear. I’m not going to defend Donald Trump — not now, not in the future.”

He made the comments while speaking to fellow Republicans on a private, Oct. 10, conference call. And Breitbart, described by the left-leaning Hill as a “far-right news website,” leaked the video.

Ruh-roh.

Now the elephant in the room of Ryan’s remarks was that “Access Hollywood” had just released tapes of Trump, from years ago, making lewd comments about women.

And Ryan’s full remarks, as released by Breitbart, went like this: “His comments are not anywhere in keeping with our party’s principles and values. There are basically two things that I want to make really clear, as for myself as your speaker. I am not going to defend Donald Trump — not now, not in the future. As you probably heard, I disinvited him from my first congressional district GOP event this weekend — a thing I do every year. And I’m not going to be campaigning with him over the next 30 days.”

And while politicians break their promises all the time, Ryan didn’t break this one. He kept his no-campaign vow and steered clear of endorsing Trump.

What character, what principle.

“Look,” Ryan went on, in the call, “you guys know I have real concerns with our nominee. I hope you appreciate that I’m doing what I think is best for you, the members, now what’s best for me. So, I want to do what’s best for our members, and I think this is the right thing to do. I’m going to focus my time on campaigning for House Republicans. I talked to a bunch of you over the last 72 hours and here is basically my takeaway. To everyone on this call, this is going to be a turbulent month. Many of you on this call are facing tough reelections. Some of you are not. But with respect to Donald Trump, I would encourage you to do what you think is best and do what you feel you need to do. Personally, you need to decide what’s best for you. And you all know what’s best for where you are.”

So there you have it.

And now?

Has Ryan reversed course any in the months since he made those remarks — in the weeks since the American people decided they wanted Trump in the White House — in the days since Trump has taken over the lead executive role?

Consider this, in a word: Obamacare.

Trump has called for repeal; Ryan’s version doesn’t quite cross that finish line. And the American people are getting impatient.

Look at this, from Eric Bolling, Fox News host, on Ryan’s Obamacare bill: “I think they need to scrap this. I think the leadership, Paul Ryan and the rest of the leadership pulled the wool over President Trump’s eyes. They said it was going to be better, it was going to be cheaper, it was going to insure the same amount of people at a lower price, and it’s not. The CBO came out with basically the same price. We’re talking $337 billion over 10 years, that’s $33.7 billion a year. That’s a drop in the bucket. But one of the things that Obamacare was imploding, one of the ways we showed that Obamacare was imploding in itself, was that fewer people were going to be insured in 2026. That’s true, 28 million fewer people would’ve been insured under Obamacare. The problem is, 52 million people are going to be uninsured under this plan according to the CBO right now. Look, is there a plan out there that can work? Yeah. But go back, start over, and come back with a plan that works.”

Now, note to Ryan — to both Ryans: With the release of this audio, it’s not likely the voters are going to blame Trump for delays any longer.

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