Trump: I won’t blame Paul Ryan if GOP loses House
President Trump on Wednesday said he will not blame Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) if Republicans lose the House, an effort to downplay simmering tensions between the White House and Capitol Hill over who bears responsibility for the GOP’s bleak chances in the upcoming midterms.
“No, I’m not going to blame anybody,” Trump told reporters on the South Lawn before leaving for a campaign rally in Florida.
Trump’s latest comments came after a Wednesday tweet in which he rebuked Ryan for rejecting his proposal to end birthright citizenship, telling the Speaker to instead focus on keeping the House majority.
The tweet fueled speculation Trump is seeking to place blame on Ryan if the Republicans lose control of the lower chamber.
The president on Wednesday defended his own campaign record, claiming he has helped turn around poll numbers for several House candidates. He also voiced cautious optimism about the party’s chances of keeping its majority.
“I think we’re doing well with the House. We’re going to have to see, it’s a lot of people,” Trump said, before adding that he believes “we’re doing really extraordinarily well in the Senate.”
But many Republicans have opposed Trump’s effort to go after birthright citizenship in part because they think it will hurt vulnerable incumbents running in districts with large immigrant populations.
Ryan was perhaps the loudest GOP voice in pushing back on the president’s proposal, saying in an interview Tuesday that “you cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order.”
Trump insisted he does have the power to do so, even though most legal scholars say birthright citizenship for the children of non-legal residents is enshrined in the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. He likened it to former President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Migrants (DACA) program, which Republicans have tried and failed to overturn in federal court.
“But if he can do DACA, we can do this by executive order,” Trump said. “With that being said, I think Congress will ultimately act but I may very well do it through executive order.”
The president has rejected argument his hardline immigration plans are not politically expedient, saying voters all over the country “want safety.” Trump has also made it clear he believes he will not be to blame if the GOP loses its majorities.
“No, I think I’m helping people,” Trump told The Associated Press earlier this month when asked if he bears any responsibility for a bad outcome for Republicans in November.
Updated: 5:12 p.m.
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