The White House is denying that President Trump had encouraged people to watch Judge Jeanine Pirro's Fox News show Saturday because she called for House Speaker Paul Ryan to step down in the wake of the failed GOP health care bill.
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus dismissed the claim on Fox News Sunday, saying it was "more coincidental."
He also told host Chris Wallace that "there was no preplanning here."
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 25, 2017
The controversy began when, on Saturday morning, Trump tweeted, "Watch @JudgeJeanine on @FoxNews tonight at 9:00 P.M."
She began that show by saying, "Paul Ryan needs to step down as speaker of the House. The reason? He failed to deliver the votes on his health care bill."
She later added, "Speaker Ryan, you come in with all your swagger and experience and you sell 'em a bill of goods, which ends up a complete and total failure, and you allow our president in his first 100 days to come out of the box like that? Based on what?"When Wallace asked why the president would direct people to her show that night, Priebus explained, "Because he loves Judge Jeanine, and he wanted to do Judge Jeanine a favor."
And when he was asked if Trump wants Ryan to step down, Priebus said, "No, he doesn't....He believes what he said in the Oval Office on Friday. He doesn't blame Paul Ryan. In fact, he thought Paul Ryan worked really hard. He enjoys his relationship with Paul Ryan, thinks that Paul Ryan's a great speaker of the House so none of that has changed."
During a press conference after the health care bill failed, the president was asked if he still had confidence in Ryan, and Trump said, "Yes, I have. I like Speaker Ryan. He worked very, very hard. A lot of different groups, he's got a lot of factions."