President Donald Trump sits with Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., during a "Friends of Ireland" luncheon on Capitol Hill, Thursday, March 16, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Silly Excuses

Covering for Trump

A short while ago, Judge Jeanine Pirro took to the cablewaves, in part to offer a vehement defense of President Donald Trump with regard to his part in the failure and withdrawal of the American Health Care Act, variously known as “Trumpcare,” “Ryancare,” “Swampcare,” and a number of other monikers.

Trump, himself, drummed up anticipation of the show with a tweet earlier in the day:

So what did the former judge give as an excuse of Trump’s part in the AHCA failure? No criminal defendant could hope for a more impassioned defense from his attorney:

“Folks, I want to be clear: this is not on President Trump! No one expected a businessman to completely understand the nuances, the complicated ins-and-outs, of Warshington[sic] and its legislative process.”

In a way, Judge Jeanine is correct: Trump’s detractors on the right said again and again that he had no experience in governance, and didn’t know how things work in “Warshington.” But the insistent refrain from his cultish devotees was, “That isn’t a bug, that’s a feature! That’s why it has to be Trump!”

However, once you make that kind of claim, you can’t turn around later and say, “Well, we all knew Trump had this bug, so we can’t blame him!” Actually, you obviously can say exactly that but you lose all credibility if you do. Of course, that might not be such a loss if your credibility’s already shot.

The American Right supposedly demands accountability. There’s blame aplenty to go around for the AHCA, and not just for its failure. The bill should never have been offered in the first place; when you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one. When you renege on years of election-winning promises, you should expect blowback. President Trump shouldn’t have gone all-in backing a bill with such fatal flaws. He isn’t solely responsible for the AHCA or what happened to it, but he would do well to exercise more prudence in choosing what he and the White House are going to back, especially back to the hilt.

It can be hoped that the AHCA episode will be a learning experience for President Trump and members of GOP leadership; experience, however, would suggest that any such hope is vain.

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Brian H. Oak

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