It was an absolutely brutal week for Republicans.
As Republican lawmakers faced massive "die-in" protests against their plans to repeal-and-replace the Affordable Care Act, President Donald Trump and House Republicans were forced to pull their American Health Care Act from what looked almost certain to be a failed vote on Friday.
“We just pulled it,” President Trump told the Washington Post shortly after a meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-WI, and minutes before Friday's scheduled vote.
For seven years, Republicans have promised to repeal and replace Obamacare, if voters would only give them the opportunity. But just before they were set to vote on the White House-backed bill, already dubbed Trumpcare, Ryan sensationally canceled the repeal of Obamacare for a second time in as many days:
On Friday, less than one hour before Ryan pulled Friday's crucial floor vote, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer made clear that Trump “left everything on the field” with Trumpcare.
While the president did not concede defeat over the massive failure of one of his signature priorities, he was quick to shrug off the embarrassment of failing to find enough Republican support for his bill to announce he was simply moving on to comprehensive tax reform.
Ryan, for his part, at least avoided unnecessarily putting his own members at risk for a bill that had no chance of becoming law. Still, the beleaguered House Speaker suffered an embarrassing defeat after more than 30 House Republicans bucked his leadership to announce that they planned to oppose the Trumpcare.
According to CNN, Trump was reportedly "fuming" and "upset that his son-in-law and senior adviser was not around during this crucial week."
Jared Kushner jetted off with his family and the president's three eldest children for a week of hitting the ski slopes in Aspen, leaving Trump without his most trusted confidantes during a pivotal time of negotiations.
While the Trump stayed behind in Washington, D.C. his signature 757, dubbed "Trump Force One," was the transportation of choice for the trip.
House Freedom Caucus
Conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus maintained that the AHCA did not go far enough in its repeal of Obamacare, asking for popular regulations to be repealed, but the defeat of Trumpcare does not make them winners in this fight.
As Salon's Matthew Sheffield pointed out, the Republican civil war is far from over and the House's most hardline members will soon discover exactly how Trump repays disloyalty:
With the bill withdrawn from consideration and its fate unclear, retribution is almost certain to come for congressional Republicans who defy the White House’s wishes.
“Inside Trump world, everyone is constantly in fear of losing their jobs,” said one person with inside knowledge of administration culture. “These people have no idea what’s going to happen to them if the health care bill goes down.”
According to interviews with White House officials and former senior Trump campaign staffers, many people within the administration are eager to exact retribution on Republicans they perceive as disloyal.
Trumpcare's failure to launch means Obamacare remains in place, for now.
Not every Democrat was gleeful Friday afternoon, however.