Breitbart News is going after Paul Ryan as the House speaker tries to push the GOP's alternative to ObamaCare through Congress. The website released audio of Ryan on a call with House Republicans from back in October, just after the leak of the infamous "grab her by the p----" remark by then-candidate Donald Trump. On the call, Ryan pledges to abandon Trump: “There are basically two things that I want to make really clear," he says. "I am not going to defend Donald Trump—not now, not in the future. ... And I’m not going to be campaigning with him over the next 30 days." The story that accompanies the audio then accuses Ryan of misleading the president about the health care bill in two ways: by saying it repeals ObamaCare "when it does not," and by leading him to believe it would easily pass Congress.
Politico notes that the gist of Ryan's comments on the call were widely reported at the time, but "the audio adds a more vivid dimension to his break with Trump during the home stretch of the campaign." Breitbart, formerly run by senior Trump adviser Steve Bannon, has been highly critical of the health care legislation of late, even branding it "House Speaker Paul Ryan's Obamacare 2.0 plan," reports CNN. Three takes on the Breitbart story:
- It's part of a strategy, suggests Axios. "Conservatives who want to kill the House Obamacare replacement plan are trying to sow divisions between Ryan and Trump."
- "Breitbart Bubble: they think tape exposes Ryan's disloyalty," tweets Glenn Thrush of the New York Times. "Actually, it revives image of Trump as a gross groper."
- "Despite not revealing any new substantive information, the tape’s publication—which gives Trump and his supporters the opportunity to actually hear Ryan abandoning him in front of the congressmen he now has to work with—could reopen old wounds between Ryan and Trump," notes the Daily Caller.
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