House Speaker Paul Ryan had the unenviable task Wednesday of coaxing Trump across the finish line and getting him to sign a Republican-approved spending bill. If he doesn’t sign it by Friday, the government will run out of funds and shut down.
And Republicans, once again, would be rightly blamed for it.
Normally, it’s not necessary for the Speaker of the House, at the 23rd hour, to hold the president’s hand and make sure he understands his job. But Trump doesn’t seems to understand much about legislation.
He has complained that Congress is not properly funding his racist border wall. “The president is also ‘upset’ that the bill lacks a measure to defund sanctuary cities,” The Atlantic reports.
So, apparently fearing that Trump would express last-minute opposition to the crucial bill, or tweet out objections, Ryan went to soothe him.
After the meeting with Ryan, the White House finally signaled its approval — although with Trump everything can change.
And all of this is nothing new for Ryan. He has ended up baby-sitting Trump before as a key legislative vote loomed.
In January, Republicans were set to reauthorize a package of mass-surveillance activities known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). That morning, Trump took to Twitter and started wildly denouncing the move.
“‘House votes on controversial FISA ACT today.’ This is the act that may have been used, with the help of the discredited and phony Dossier, to so badly surveil and abuse the Trump Campaign by the previous administration and others?” Trump tweeted.
It was a bizarre move to suddenly attack GOP-approved legislation hours before a vote. But it turned out to be thanks to Fox News. Trump watched a host criticize the bill without knowing that virtually the entire Republican Party supported it.
Ryan then reportedly spent 30 minutes on the phone with Trump walking him through the bill, explaining the difference between domestic and foreign surveillance.
At the time, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi mocked Trump’s complete ignorance of pending legislation that his own party supported. “He doesn’t even know what the bills are about and he’s putting out tweets,” she said. She added that his tweets were “undermining” the House’s vote.
The final congressional vote for the spending bill is still pending. So Ryan’s baby-sitting duties may not be over yet.