National Security

Trump Says Paul Ryan Promised the Wall — Then ‘Went Lame Duck’

In a recent interview, the president said the former House speaker talked of a border barrier in exchange for support of the omnibus spending bill

Image Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Staff/Getty Images and Shutterstock

President Donald Trump, in a recent interview with The Daily Caller, claims former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) promised he’d get a border wall in exchange for an omnibus spending bill.

The news outlet noted that Republicans had control of both houses of Congress for two years, yet failed to secure funding for a border wall, and asked what role Ryan played in that failure.

Related: Pelosi Digs In on Border: ‘There’s Not Going to Be Any Wall Money’

Trump responded by stating Ryan had promised the wall if he would capitulate on a bloated omnibus spending bill.

“Well, I was going to veto the omnibus bill and Paul told me in the strongest of language, ‘Please don’t do that, we’ll get you the wall,'” the president asserted. “And I said, ‘I hope you mean that because I don’t like this bill.”

Trump repeatedly stated that he was happy with the military funding in the bill but would have vetoed it otherwise.

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Betrayal. The president then said Ryan went “lame duck” and that impotence led to his reneging on the wall.

“He went lame duck,” Trump lamented. “And once he went lame duck it was just really an exercise in waving to people and the power was gone, so I was very disappointed.”

Asked if he had lied to him, the president played nice. “I don’t want to say he lied. I think he probably meant it at the time, I guess. I hope. So I don’t call that lying,” he responded.

At a meeting with conservative groups last week, however, President Trump reportedly blasted Ryan for having “screwed him” by not securing border wall money when Republicans had the majority.

“Screwed him.” Paul Ryan’s betrayal on the issue made him quite possibly the worst person to have filled the role as House speaker during the Trump administration. Anyone with an ounce of intestinal fortitude would have made it a priority, delivering the president and the Republican Party a major victory.

But betrayal was Ryan’s modus operandi.

Months prior to his departure, Ryan promoted a “discharge petition” that pushed for amnesty through the DREAM Act.

Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) said the bill did not mention a border wall, deporting criminal illegal immigrants, or any real reform.

There was a time when both Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) were aiming to secure $12 – $15 billion for construction of a southern border wall, another effort that never panned out.

It was Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) who way back in 2017 warned fellow Republicans that Ryan had no interest in actually funding a border wall.

“I don’t believe the speaker is for the wall,” King told Fox News host Tucker Carlson at the time.

“He’s way short of the enthusiasm that I have for the wall.”

He was proven correct.

“I was very disappointed in Paul because the wall was so desperately needed,” President Trump concluded.

This piece originally appeared in The Political Insider and is used by permission.

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