Last week, Rep. Ken Buck saw his profile elevated substantially after President Donald Trump highlighted Buck’s op-ed in The Hill, in which Buck claimed that he would have supported the American Health Care Act (a.k.a. “Trumpcare”):
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 30, 2017
Unfortunately for Rep. Buck, his claim that “I supported the AHCA, will continue to support it, and will encourage my colleagues to support it as well” contradicted what he told 9NEWS right after the bill was pulled for lack of support:
[M]oments after Republicans pulled the American Health Care Act, Buck told 9NEWS he remained undecided.
“It was changing and I thought getting better in some respects, and I was looking forward to hearing the rest of the debate, but I had not committed … ,” Buck said in a phone interview. “I was not completely sold on the bill.” [Pols emphasis]
That’s a completely different answer from the one he gave in an opinion piece for The Hill Thursday, a piece shared by President Donald Trump on Twitter Thursday.
This weekend, the Denver Post’s Mark Matthews attempted to get to the bottom of this contradiction, and Buck didn’t acquit himself well:
Asked Thursday night to explain the conflicting public positions, Buck said he was playing his cards close to his chest so not to upset ongoing negotiations among House Speaker Paul Ryan, President Donald Trump and the conservative Freedom Caucus — of which Buck is a member.
“I talked to the leadership of the Freedom Caucus that was negotiating with the various groups and I told them that I was leaning yes on the bill in the morning before the vote was supposed to take place,” Buck said. “And they asked me to keep that quiet because they were still negotiating some details and they weren’t sure if the bill was going to get pulled or not – there was some talk about that that morning – and I agreed to do that. When I was asked by Brandon Rittiman whether I was committed on the bill, I forgot the exact language, but that to me, yes, if you would have had the vote, I would have voted yes. But it is wasn’t a commitment in the sense that I was out advocating for the bill and trying to push the bill.”
Got that? Rep. Buck says he was “leaning yes” on the morning of the vote, but Freedom Caucus leadership wasn’t sure about the count, so they asked him to “keep quiet” about being a yes. Then after the bill was pulled, he told 9NEWS that he was “not completely sold”–presumably again at the request of leadership, even though there was nothing at that point to be gained.
Except for Ken Buck covering his ass, of course!
Folks, this explanation is nonsensical. Buck’s claim that he was, is and will be a “yes” on the AHCA today cannot be made to fit with his statement right after the vote that he was not a “yes.” It’s silly to try to reconcile these two claims because you can’t. Buck should just take his lumps and admit he “misspoke,” the standard euphemism in politics for when you say something wrong/stupid/bigoted/obviously bullshit.
During Buck’s unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate, the term “Buckpedal” was coined to describe his many reversals from hard-right “Tea Party” stands during the 2010 primary versus what he needed to say to have a prayer of winning a statewide election. Buck was an early victim of ubiquitous online video that froze him in time making statements he would later regret.
As you can see, it’s a lesson Rep. Buck still hasn’t learned.