Donald Trump does not like to lose, and he’s prone to temper tantrums. Therefore, Donald Trump cannot be seen to lose even if Trumpcare goes down in flames in the House of Representatives, so someone else needs to get the blame. Paul Ryan, come on down—you’re it!
Then there’s the Breitbart report that Steve Bannon is privately trashing “Ryan bill.”
A long New York Times article—so long it waits until the seventeenth and eighteenth paragraphs to get to the fact that Trumpcare will leave millions of people without insurance and will leave insured people without the guarantee of essential services like maternity care—makes the same case. Trump was just going along with what Ryan wanted, so if things go wrong, it’s all Ryan’s fault.
Mr. Trump has told four people close to him that he regrets going along with Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s plan to push a health care overhaul before unveiling a tax cut proposal more politically palatable to Republicans. [...]
If Mr. Trump has any advantage in the negotiations, it is his ideological flexibility: He is more interested in a win, or avoiding a loss, than any of the arcane policy specifics of the complicated measure, according to a dozen aides and allies interviewed over the past week who described his mood as impatient and jittery. Already, he has shown that flexibility by going back on campaign promises that no one would lose coverage when the Affordable Care Act was replaced and he would not cut Medicaid. [...]
Until this week, Mr. Trump was slow to recognize the high stakes of the fight, or the implications of losing. He approved the agenda putting health care first late last year, almost in passing, in meetings with Mr. Ryan, Vice President Mike Pence and Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff.
Ah, yes. It’s everyone else’s fault because Trump was too checked out to have an opinion and too ignorant to know this might be difficult, but hey, at least he cares so little that losing won’t feel like losing as long as he can blame someone else.
This is not to say Paul Ryan doesn’t deserve credit for this disaster—he’s fully earned each and every bus wheel that goes over him. But Trump should not exactly be driving the bus; if anything, he should be down there with Ryan. “I was too ignorant and lazy to be blamed for failing at the thing I tried” is not exactly a compelling defense.