Republican officials in Congress and the White House are now openly discussing finding a GOP replacement to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as Speaker of the House, after Ryan failed to pass the American Health Care Act out of the House and misled the public and President Donald Trump when he promised repeatedly the bill would pass.
Ryan was caught on an audio file from October—obtained by Breitbart News and published a couple weeks ago—saying he is “not going to defend Donald Trump—not now, not in the future.” While the audio file does not make the comments clear, Ryan’s staff later claimed that it was specifically about the Access Hollywood tape scandal from the election. The audio tape of Ryan, recorded from a House GOP members’ conference call, does not make that context clear.
Many allies of the president and several White House officials over the weeks since have confirmed to Breitbart News that the president is concerned that Ryan may not have his—or his agenda’s—best interests at heart. Ryan’s failure to deliver the votes on healthcare cement Trump’s skepticism of Ryan, they say.
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“This is another example of the staff not serving the president well and the weakness of the Paul Ryan speakership,” a source close to President Trump told Breitbart News. “This calls into question once again the speaker’s commitment to supporting Donald Trump and his agenda.”
“Speaker Ryan proved today that he does not have the best interests of the President at heart,” said another source close to the president. “He sold out the president and showed his word can be taken with a grain of salt. There is only one course of action that should be taken to move past this catastrophe and that is the swift removal of Paul Ryan from the speakership.”
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White House sources tell Breitbart News that the president is very frustrated with Ryan and feels that he has saved him multiple times already. After the election in November, it was widely reported that there were enough Republican votes to remove Ryan as Speaker—and the only reason conservatives kept him is that Trump won the election and embraced Ryan. But now Trump may perceive Ryan as a burden rather than someone who can help enact his agenda.
A senior Senate GOP aide questioned whether Ryan has the chops to continue in the position.
“A tale as old as time, our establishment leadership continue advocating for moderate pieces of legislation after ignoring conservative input,” the Senate aide said. “How can President Donald Trump trust Speaker Paul Ryan in the future after this failure? If he couldn’t deliver on something so simple as repealing Obamacare, will he be able to deliver on complex pieces of legislation?”
House Republicans are also questioning whether Paul Ryan can remain as Speaker after this abysmal failure.
“If Speaker Ryan cannot pass his RyanCare plan and negotiations had to be taken to the Oval Office by non-leadership members of the conference, it is certainly time to evaluate his effectiveness as the Speaker of the House,” a senior House GOP aide told Breitbart News.
Senior aides from at least seven House GOP offices—only two from the House Freedom Caucus—tell Breitbart News that there is significant discussion conference-wide about a replacement to Ryan as Speaker of the House.
It has gotten so far along in the process that alternative names are being thrown around—anyone from House Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), to former Freedom Caucus chair Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, to House Appropriations Committee chairman Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ)—to Reps. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Peter Roskam (R-IL), according to one senior House GOP aide.
But nobody has yet emerged as an official challenger to Ryan, and it is unclear if anyone will. All of those names and more, aides say, would be more open to proactively supporting President Trump, something Ryan has repeatedly refused to do. source