The Slatest

Paul Ryan Is Trying to Win Trump’s Support by Calling Him “the Closer” and That Is Very Funny

Kyra Sedgwick in The Closer, Donald “the Closer” Trump, and closer Mariano Rivera.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photos via TNT, by Kevin Dietsch - Pool/Getty Images, and by Nick Laham/Getty Images.

Politico ran two pieces on Monday about the disinterest that Donald Trump has been showing toward his and Paul Ryan’s flailing Obamacare replacement bill. (Trump mentioned the bill only sparingly in a long campaign-style speech in Louisville, Kentucky, on Monday night, for example.) One of the pieces was about all the work Trump’s aides are doing to coordinate health care strategy with House Republicans while their boss is busy golfing and complaining to random friends about the legal failure of the Muslim travel ban. That piece includes this gem of insight into the way that other political figures are forced to try to interact with a president who has no attention span and rarely seems to understand the details of anything he’s talking about:


Members of Speaker Paul Ryan’s team, trying to appeal to Trump’s ego and deal-making sensibilities, have begun calling him the “closer” or the “ultimate closer.”


While flattery is never a bad strategy with Trump, it does seem like a president who has chalked up exactly zero significant policy accomplishments after two months in office may not truly be the ultimate closer. And even before taking office, Trump was involved in a staggering 3,500 lawsuits, which might indicate that—book titles aside—he is not particularly personally skilled in the art of conflict resolution.

As it happens, Trump had a meeting with House Republicans on Tuesday morning in which he tried to convince hard-line anti-spending holdouts to vote for the AHCA bill. How’d that go? Let’s check in with hard-line leader Rep. Mark Meadows, who Trump apparently addressed directly during the meeting, via the Washington Post:


Meadows told reporters that the president had not made the sale, that the call-out was good-natured, and that conservative hold-outs would continue pressing for a tougher bill.

“I’m still a ‘no,’” he said. “I’ve had no indication that any of my Freedom Caucus colleagues have switched their votes.”

Hmm, yes, it looks like Trump was basically Brenda Leigh Johnson (that’s Kyra Sedgwick’s character in the seminal TNT police procedural The Closer, obviously!) in there.

How does Paul Ryan think everything went?

You did great, chief. Can I call you “champ”? How about “stud”? You’re a real big stud, boss. Go get ‘em.