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Hours before meeting with Republican senators at the White House, President Trump appears to be making a last-ditch effort to save their faltering effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.
“I will be having lunch at the White House today with Republican Senators concerning healthcare,” Trump tweeted early Wednesday. “They MUST keep their promise to America!”
“The Republicans never discuss how good their healthcare bill is, & it will get even better at lunchtime,” the president continued. “The Dems scream death as OCare dies!”
Trump’s tweets come a day after he issued conflicting statements about the Republican attempt to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.
On Tuesday morning, Trump vowed that he and the GOP would not give up on health care.
“We will return!” Trump tweeted.
On Tuesday afternoon, though, Trump told reporters that he believes it would be “easier” for him and Republican lawmakers to “let Obamacare fail.”
“We’re not going to own it,” Trump said. “I’m not going to own it. I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it. We’ll let Obamacare fail, and then the Democrats are going to come to us and they are going to say, ‘How do we fix it? How do we fix it?’ Or ‘How do we come up with a new plan?’”
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Trump expressed his “disappointment” that the GOP, which is now in control of Congress, failed to deliver a victory.
“For seven years, I’ve been hearing ‘repeal and replace’ from Congress — I’ve been hearing it loud and strong,” he said. “And when we finally get a chance to repeal and replace, they don’t take advantage of it. So that’s disappointing.”
“I’m sitting in the Oval Office, right next door, pen in hand, waiting to sign something, and I’ll be waiting,” Trump continued. “Eventually, we’re going to get something done.”
But the president’s approach — sitting and waiting — has come under fire from critics who say he hasn’t done enough to sell the health care plan to voters.
“Although Trump routinely proclaims his desire for political victories, he has yet to make a full-throated case to the country about legislation that Congress is pursuing,” Abby Phillip and Robert Costa wrote in the Washington Post last week, before the latest health care setback. “Trump — who relished his ability on the campaign trail to capture the public imagination and use his bully pulpit — more frequently plays the role of partisan cheerleader or frustrated onlooker from the White House.”
Over the weekend, Trump returned from a trip to Paris and traveled to his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., where he spent time as a spectator at the U.S. Women’s Open. Many of Trump tweets on Saturday and Sunday were about the event.
And as the Senate’s bill to repeal and replace Obamacare was cratering on Monday, Trump was promoting U.S. products at a “Made In America” showcase at the White House.
On Monday night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell conceded that the repeal and replace effort was a failure, saying the GOP would try to pass a so-called clean Obamacare repeal bill that Republicans approved in 2015 but Obama vetoed.
The plan announced by McConnell includes a two-year delay that he said would give Republicans time to come up with a suitable replacement — an idea Trump dismissed shortly after the election.
“We’re not going to have, like, a two-day period, and we’re not going to have a two-year period where there’s nothing,” Trump said in an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” that aired on Nov. 13, 2016. “It will be repealed and replaced.”
McConnell’s clean repeal effort also appears doomed to fail after three GOP senators bailed on the new plan on Tuesday. But the Kentucky senator has vowed to bring it to a vote next week despite the opposition.
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