On Wednesday Donald Trump attacked Paul Ryan in what many believe was an attempt by the president to deflect blame in advance of a crushing Republican defeat in Tuesday’s midterm elections. It appears that Trump needs a scapegoat and he did not hesitate at all to throw the retiring Speaker of the House under the bus.
Since the GOP is expected to lose its House majority next week Trump obviously believes he should get an early start on blaming other people for this loss, even though he may be primarily to blame.
Trump went on Twitter to publicly slam Ryan who had criticized his statements that he could end birthright citizenship by issuing an executive order.
“Paul Ryan should be focusing on holding the Majority rather than giving his opinions on Birthright Citizenship, something he knows nothing about! Our new Republican Majority will work on this, Closing the Immigration Loopholes and Securing our Border!” Trump tweeted Wednesday.
Paul Ryan should be focusing on holding the Majority rather than giving his opinions on Birthright Citizenship, something he knows nothing about! Our new Republican Majority will work on this, Closing the Immigration Loopholes and Securing our Border!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2018
It’s not a secret that Trump has been frustrated about his inability to implement his top immigration priorities since becoming president. He has tried and failed to get full funding for his beloved Mexican border wall under the Republican Congress. So now, with the House majority slipping away from Republicans, Trump is suddenly lashing out at Ryan and deflecting blame from himself.
Republicans in Washington say Trump’s lack of discipline and controversial tweets and public statements have hurt them with swing voters. They point to Wednesday’s tweet attacking Ryan as a prime example of Trump behavior which hurts his own party.
GOP insiders believe it was harmful to attack Ryan. They say this has increased Republican tensions and knocked the party off message just before Tuesday’s critical elections.
Trump has been holding dozens of rallies and urging voters to make this election about him. Thus everyone knows it will not be possible for him to escape blame for GOP losses.
One GOP insider had this to say:
“Attacking Paul Ryan, who has busted his butt for the House Republican team, on the eve of this midterm is gobsmackingly counterproductive and wrong-headed, particularly since the President has been 100 percent clear that this election is a referendum on his leadership and his administration.”
Trump’s vicious attack on Ryan was also interpreted as a sign that he and the White House have given up on saving Republican control of the House of Representatives. His rally schedule includes stops in the Senate battleground states of Florida, Missouri, Montana, Tennessee and Indiana but not in swing House districts.
Ryan, meanwhile, is on the campaign trail stumping for 25 of the most vulnerable House Republicans in 12 states.
During an interview with the Associated Press earlier this month, Trump said he would not be responsible if Republicans lose the House majority.
“No, I think I’m helping people,” Trump said. “I don’t believe anybody’s ever had this kind of an impact.”
And Wednesday’s tweet slamming Ryan came after POLITICO reported that Trump was privately preparing to hold both Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) accountable for the outcomes of the midterms.
“These are their elections… if they screw it up, it’s not my fault,” Trump reportedly said, according to an unnamed source.
Although he may claim otherwise, this week’s events confirm that Donald Trump plans to blame upcoming Republican losses on everybody but himself.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.