A week of drama and conflict closed with a bang on Friday in Washington when President Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan announced they were going to pull the GOP's Healthcare Bill that would have repealed the #Affordable Care Act.

Ryan said that there will be no second attempt and that the nation will live with #Obamacare until it shows itself to be lacking in merit and is presumably overhauled or will fail.

The astonishing conclusion to many years of planning to overturn Obamacare highlights a growing divide in the #Republican Party, and also puts doubts about Trump's ability to negotiate in Congress front and center.

It was also a #sobering defeat for an incoming President who is used to getting his way in business negotiations and who has branded himself as an expert dealmaker. The affair will pall a long shadow over his increasingly ineffective presidency, what with his travel ban court appeals, the troubling Russian allegations that are being investigated by the FBI, and awkward diplomatic struggles and skirmishes with countries such as Australia, Germany and the UK.

Who wins and who loses?

As the bill is put permanently to bed, the losers and the winners will seek to clear their names and reposition themselves within the power circles of Washington. Winners from this defeat include #Obama, Democrats, AARP, the society for older people, as well as Jared Kushner, who refused to back the vote.

But it is President Trump who stands to be seen as the biggest loser in the whole debacle. With murmurings of his inner crisis of self-doubt and his difficulty playing the #Washington game, this was yet another #humiliating setback for a president who was once full of bravado and claimed he could make any deal he wanted, and could do so swiftly and little fuss.

His efforts at legislative change have collapsed before the finish line and his deal-making talents are in doubt. He threw himself intently into trying to persuade reluctant Republican voters who didn’t support the bill, and he failed. He also aired much of this over Twitter or through the press.

Legislative wish list

Questions are now circulating about how this will effect other legislative items on Trump's wish list – such as #tax reform – and also his reputation.

Also critically, how much blame will he abscond or attract from grassroots Republicans in the party. Will it be #Trump, or Ryan or the reluctant GOP lawmakers who will be publicly discredited?

On Friday afternoon, speaking from the White House, Trump maintained a presidential and dignified attitude as he announced the decision to pull the bill, instead of lashing out at the lawmakers who didn’t fall in line. He made the argument that the Democrats will have to continue to “own” #Obamacare, and its predicted failings, and that this will disadvantage them politically in the future.

At one point Trump muttered, “There’s not much you can do about it,” referring to Obamacare. Critics leapt on this as a weak and feeble thing for a President to say, revealing much a blow the setback has been to his office.

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