Right-wing media points fingers at anyone but Trump following healthcare bill failure

The Senate healthcare bill supported by President Donald Trump faltered late Monday, marking the current end of Republicans’ attempt to pass an Obamacare replacement bill.

Yet few right-wing media figures and outlets have been willing to place the blame on Trump, instead downplaying the news or casting the blame on congressional Republican leadership.

Despite promising to easily repeal the Affordable Care Act, former President Barack Obama’s signature legislation, and replace it with a cheaper alternative, Trump was largely absent during the effort to negotiate and pass the Senate bill.

Indeed, some right-leaning news outlets did not rush to weigh in.

Right-wing news website Breitbart was slow to pick up the news Monday evening, while the only primetime coverage the bill’s failure received was on Fox News’ “The Five,” which tapes live. The show put the news late in its show rundown after segments about OJ Simpson’s parole hearing and former Vice President Al Gore’s new climate change documentary.

But others quickly took aim at Republican congressional leadership.

The Drudge Report, a top web aggregator whose founder has close ties to the Trump administration, accused House Leader Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of being the “most unproductive Congress in 164 years” in a splash at the top of the site on Tuesday.

Other far-right figures made similar arguments on Twitter.

While not singling out McConnell and Ryan by name, radio host Rush Limbaugh railed against “establishment” Republicans who were too afraid of the bill’s dismal poll numbers and estimates that showed millions of Americans would get thrown off of their health insurance, as well as the leadership who attempted to address those criticisms.

“You gotta know who the enemy is,” Limbaugh said. “You gotta know where to take the battle and fight, and I’m sorry — investing in the Republican leadership to carry your water? Who ever thought that would work?”

Fox News host Sean Hannity also joined the fray.

“If McConnell can’t get this done, McConnell needs to go,” he said on his radio show on Tuesday. “If he can’t get the urgency up in the House, Ryan needs to go.”

Breitbart had attempted to push McConnell not to cow to moderate influences, running a series of pieces claiming McConnell was making “backroom deals” for moderates.

Others blamed the libertarian-minded and moderate senators who refused to support the bill.

“I think its the failure of the myriad of senators, I don’t blame McConnell, and I certainly don’t blame President Trump,” former White House press secretary Ari Fleisher said on “Fox & Friends.”

Co-host Brian Kilmeade agreed, singling out Sens. Rand Paul, Rob Portman, and Susan Collins.

“These people are being true to their school, just not true to their party, and maybe not true to their country,” Kilmeade said.

The sentiment was mirrored by several prominent conservative commentators on social media. 

Many right-wing and conservative commentators have continued to pressure Republican congressional leadership over repealing Obamacare in the months since Trump assumed the presidency.

Pro-Trump media figures were quick to blame Ryan after the House healthcare bill momentarily stumbled earlier this year.

“It’s time to fix this mess that you have made for the president, and it’s time for you to give the American people a bill that you have now promised them for almost eight years,” Hannity said in May. “For the love of God, after eight years, can you please do your job?”