Trump Blindsided by Implosion of GOP Healthcare Bill

President Donald Trump convened a strategy session over steak and succotash at the White House with senators Monday night, trying to plot an uphill path to repealing ObamaCare and replacing it with a GOP alternative, Politico reads.

Trump made a pitch on why Republicans needed to do it now – and the political peril they could face if they didn’t “repeal and replace” after promising to do it for years. He also vented about Democrats and the legislative process.

“He basically said, if we don’t do this, we’re in trouble,” said one person briefed on the meeting. “That we have the Senate, House and White House and we have to do it or we’re going to look terrible.”

Two senators were simultaneously drafting statements saying how they couldn’t support the current bill, which they released just after Trump’s White House meal concluded. Trump had no idea the statements were coming, according to several White House and congressional officials. His top aides were taken aback, and the White House was soon on the phone with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The abrupt collapse of the current plan blew up what the White House wanted for months, and undoubtedly set back Republicans in their goal to overhaul President Obama’s legislation. It certainly frustrated a number of the president’s top aides, who have negotiated to-the-letter certain packages for certain senators for a summer solution.

But Trump, who has not fretted over the details of the proposed legislation, seemed ready to try something else – trading ribeye negotiations for his favorite pastime.

Within an hour, Trump was back on Twitter, where he put forward a different idea – one he has posited privately for months – after talking to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and top aides.

“Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!” he wrote on Twitter.

Trump is fine doing it that way, said one White House aide – as “long as something gets done.”

To Trump, the ObamaCare fight has always been about scoring a win. He doesn’t care nearly as much about the specifics, people close to him say, and hasn’t understood why legislators just won’t make deals and bring something, anything to his desk.

He has said publicly and privately he didn’t understand it would take this long. “Nobody knew health care could be so complicated,” Trump said in February. At a different point, he said only Middle East peace would be harder.

Along the way, Trump has weighed various options, from not paying cost-sharing subsidies and letting the law implode to repealing it without a replacement – which he veered back to on Twitter Monday night.



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