A day after using an unannounced, after-hours, closed-door session to gut the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, the House GOP has abandoned its plans, partly because President-Elect Trump told them that while he believed that the Office should be dismantled, doing so now would distract from the urgent business of slashing taxes for the wealthy and taking away healthcare from 20 million Americans.
Trump's objections to the House Republican action appeared to center more on timing of the move, rather than the substance of the decision to rein in the independent watchdog.
Asked whether Trump wanted House Republicans to strengthen the ethics office, Trump spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters Tuesday morning that "it's not a question of strengthening or weakening."
"It's a question of priorities" and Trump's "belief that with all that this country wants … to have happen, this really shouldn't be the priority," Spicer said.
His comments came before House Republicans reversed course.
House GOP drop plan to gut ethics office
[Fredreka Schouten and Erin Kelly/USA Today]