A day after Trump surprised his own party by taking the first offer from congressional Democrats to raise the debt ceiling and continue government spending for three months, many House conservatives have decided that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) is ultimately to blame for Trump’s impulsive deal.
“Lack of preparation leads to poor choices, and the fact that we weren’t here ― and you heard me say this the other night ― we weren’t here for six weeks, the longest non-election-year break we’ve had in a decade,” former Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said Thursday, “that’s a problem.”
Asked if Trump had effectively stepped in front of a bullet for Ryan by taking the blame for a bad deal that the speaker would have largely taken the responsibility for if the president had just stayed out of negotiations, Jordan said he wasn’t here to blame anybody. “What I’m saying is we should have done what we had said back in July,” Jordan answered. “We should have stayed here and put together a debt ceiling plan.”
Obviously, Ryan has a lot of blame for a congressional recess, though the majority leader also has a say in the congressional schedule. But Jordan added that when lawmakers fail to prepare for deadlines, they don’t have the best options come decision time.
That’s not an unfair argument, but it ignores an obvious reality: This deal that Trump struck with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was a deal that Trump struck, not Ryan.
But time and again Thursday, conservatives ignored Trump’s role in the agreement and found a way to blame the speaker.
“I think he saw the same-old, same-old kind of crap coming from leadership, and that wasn’t good enough,” Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) said of Trump, theorizing that the president was effectively preserving the debt limit issue until December.
As much as Gosar defended the president, he couldn’t find an adequate reason to vote for the bill ― he said he plans to oppose the package when it comes before the House ― but Gosar noted he could see how this deal works to Trump’s favor if the president plays his hand right.
That part seems unlikely. Lawmakers have repeatedly noted in the last two days that Trump just set a…