A Fox News personality - whom President Donald Trump had urged his supporters to watch - called on House Speaker Paul Ryan to step down, saying he had done a disservice to Trump by failing to pass a high-profile healthcare bill.
At the top of her show, Jeanine Pirro, host of "Justice With Judge Jeanine," delivered a scathing commentary on Ryan's performance in the days leading up to the decision to pull the House Republican bill to overhaul the Affordable Care Act.
"It failed within the first 70 days of President Donald Trump's Administration, a president who made the replacement of Obamacare the hallmark of his campaign and then used valuable political capital to accomplish it," said Pirro, placing the blame squarely on Ryan.
"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?" she said.
"Your legislative expertise, your knowledge of the arcane ins and outs of the bill-writing process? Your relationships? What? Your drinks at the Hay-Adams with your pals?"
Earlier, Trump took to Twitter to urge his followers to tune into Pirro's show, saying: "Watch @JudgeJeanine on @FoxNews tonight at 9:00 P.M."
In public statements since the bill's collapse, both Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence have continued to support Ryan as speaker.
The White House did not respond yesterday to questions about whether Trump knew what Pirro was going to say.
Today, during an appearance on Fox News, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus called Trump's tweet and Pirro's call for Ryan to step down "coincidental".
"There is no preplanning here," Priebus said, adding that Trump promoted Pirro's show on Twitter "because he loves Judge Jeanine" and wanted to do her a favour.
Trump "doesn't blame Paul Ryan" for the defeat of the Affordable Care Act overhaul, Priebus said. "He thinks Paul Ryan is a great speaker of the House."
This is a perfect series of tweets pic.twitter.com/ATNM4rEHlK— Brandon Friedman (@BFriedmanDC) March 26, 2017
Pirro said there had been no coordination with Trump in her messaging.
"When he tweeted, 'Watch Judge Jeanine tonight,' he and I had absolutely no conversation, no discussion, no email, nothing," she said.
Today, a spokeswoman for Ryan said his relationship with Trump has not been damaged.
"The speaker and president talked for an hour yesterday about moving forward on the agenda, and their relationship is stronger than ever right now," AshLee Strong said.