Newt Gingrich said that President Trump was misled by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) into believing that he could pay little attention to the Obamacare replacement bill, and come in at the end and sign it. He made the comments Friday to Sean Hannity on Fox News.
"I was angrier than I want to really admit publicly earlier today," Hannity admitted, "I'm not as angry now. Now I see an opportunity. And I sense that they're not gonna make this mistake again, please tell me they won't do this again this way."
"Well, first of all you have no idea whether or not they'll make that mistake or invent a new mistake," Gingrich offered.
"What do you do know is that Donald Trump is a very smart guy," he continued. "He just went through an experience that wasn't what he was told. He had been told that everything was under control, the leadership could deliver, he didn't have to pay too much attention, come in at the very end and close the deal. And it got to be a total mess."
Gingrich seemed to imply that Ryan deserved to lose the speakership over the debacle, saying, "I can guarantee you that if this had been one of his hotels, one of his buildings, one of his golf courses, there'd be a lot of personnel changes tonight. And I think what you're gonna see is that he's gonna rethink how he's going to approach the Congress based on this outcome. Because it was so totally, utterly unacceptable."
"At the same time I think, Paul Ryan is at a real turning point," he continued. "Ryan's a very smart guy, nobody should take that away from him. And he knows an immense amount about policy."
"But he's gotta decide, in the world of Trump," he advised, "where you're doing really bold, really different things, is he willing to spend the time and the energy, listening to everybody, even when he doesn't agree with them, doesn't think they make any sense, because only by, we used to use a model of listen, learn, help and lead. And only by doing this, and you've talked about it some, only by getting everybody in the dialogue, you have a chance of ultimately getting to the majority. And I think this was an example, that starting at the top, trying to run it through the system is not going to work."
Trump allies and supporters have sought to put the blame of the repeal bill's failure squarely on the shoulders of Ryan and the GOP leadership, while the administration has resisted doing so. Instead, the president blamed Democrats for resisting all efforts to repeal Obamacare, and said he would let it "explode" and let them come to him later.
The bill faced opposition from the Freedom Caucus of conservative Republicans Thursday, causing the vote to be postponed. But Friday when concessions were made to the right wing of the party, moderates dropped their support, dooming the bill.