The President of the United States briefly took on a non-traditional role as publicist for a Fox News show Saturday night.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 25, 2017
Host Jeanine Pirro had barely begun her show before Trump’s tweet took on new significance. “Paul Ryan needs to step down as speaker of the house,” she proclaimed at the very beginning of her “opening statement” segment at the top of the show. “The reason? He failed to deliver the votes on his healthcare bill.”
— Jeanine Pirro (@JudgeJeanine) March 26, 2017
What followed was a 6 minute rant against the embattled speaker, with a few pauses to defend Trump. “No one expected a businessman to completely understand the nuances — the complicated ins and outs —and its legislative process.” Pirro claimed. “How would [Trump] know which individuals upon whom he’d be able to rely?”
Meanwhile, Speaker Ryan “failed to deliver the votes on his health care bill, the one trumpeted to repeal and replace Obamacare, the one that he had seven years to work on.”
Pirro is not wrong about how Ryan’s reputation as a legislative leader massively outstrips the reality. Indeed, Ryan’s primary skill appears to be presenting a convincing illusion of competence to conservative insiders and inside-the-beltway pundits.
Before Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney selected Ryan as his running mate in 2012, Ryan was the primary sponsor of just two bills that were signed into law — a bill renaming a post office and another modifying the excise tax on arrows. During the Bush administration, Ryan offered a plan to privatize Social Security that was so poorly designed that “by 2050, every single stock or bond in the United States would be owned by a Social Security account.”
Let that sink in for a moment. Ryan set out to make out nation’s preeminent retirement program more capitalistic, and instead wrote a plan that would have transformed the United States into a communist nation.
His health care bill, meanwhile, would have caused 24 million people to lose their health insurance by 2026. And Ryan couldn’t even hold his own caucus together well enough to allow this bill to come to a vote.