Nothing comes between President Trump and TV time — not even Paul Ryan.
The commander-in-chief ditched the former House speaker in the middle of an Oval Office meeting to go watch television in another room, according to ex-White House staffer Cliff Sims.
Sims, a former communications aide to Trump, writes in his new tell-all “Team of Vipers” that Ryan was in the middle of a 15-minute “ramble” about GOP efforts to repeal Obamacare when the President suddenly “set down” his glass of Diet Coke, “placed his palms on the desk, and slowly stood up.”
“Without a word, he walked right past me, out of the Oval, and down the hall toward his private study,” Sims writes in the book, which was obtained by the Daily News and is set to be released Tuesday.
A befuddled Ryan looked at Vice President Pence, who was also in the esteemed office, according to Sims.
But, Sims says, Pence “just nodded, and the Speaker just kept on talking.”
Meanwhile, the cable news-obsessed President had walked into his private dining room and turned on “the giant flat-screen TV,” Sims writes.
Pence and Ryan kept a “quiet dialogue” going for a few minutes, but after a while, Sims alleges even the vice president realized “this awkward moment would not resolve itself.”
So the veep stood up, asked the speaker to give him a second and walked into the dining room, “patting Ryan on the shoulder as he passed by,” according to Sims.
Pence then watched a “TV news segment” with Trump while Ryan remained in the Oval, sitting “wordlessly in front of the Resolute desk.”
“I did the same in my chair along the wall, both of us ignoring the awkwardness,” Sims writes.
Finally, after about two minutes, a “somewhat rejuvenated” Trump and Pence reentered the Oval. “With no explanation, apology, or acknowledgment of what had just happened, he resumed the conversation as if he hadn’t just walked out of the room to catch up on TV,” Sims writes.
After a few more minutes of conversation, the meeting ended and Ryan left for Capitol Hill, according to Sims.
A White House spokeswoman did not return a request for comment.
Contrary to many other books about the Trump administration, Sims’s tome frequently describes the President in glowing terms and the former White House aide says he still considers himself a supporter.
Nonetheless, the book contains numerous embarrassing anecdotes.
“Lincoln famously had his Team of Rivals. Trump had his Team of Vipers,” Sims writes in the introduction to the book. “We served. We fought. We brought our egos. We brought our personal agendas and vendettas. We were ruthless. And some of us, I assume, were good people.”