After a stinging defeat Friday afternoon as the AHCA (Obamacare replacement) was pulled from the floor of the House, President Trump told reporters at a quickly assembled press opportunity in the Oval Office that he was disappointed. He also made two very unusual claims that do not match the historical record.
- Claim: Democrats were to blame for his failure to repeal and replace Obamacare. Trump indicated that the fact that no Democrats voted for the AHCA is the reason it failed. Reality: There were no overtures made to Democrats throughout the process. In fact, members of the Republican party had little input as the legislation was being reviewed and crafted – some even couldn’t get their hands on the text of the bill.
- Claim: “I never said repeal and replace it within 64 days.” During his press conference in the Oval Office President Trump made the assertion that he never promised to repeal and replace within a set period of time. Reality: Donald Trump said on the campaign trail and as recently as a week before he took office that he would repeal and replace Obamacare on his first day in office. It was also listed as a primary policy objective in Trump’s outline of his legislative agenda in his first 100 days.
Much has already been written about the failure of Trump’s first major legislative effort. The bottom line, however, is that Republicans, who have been campaigning on repealing Obamacare for seven years, were unable to present a unifying vision for health care for their party to rally behind. As Tim Alberta so aptly puts it: “If the bill failed because Trump is a great salesman with a poor grasp of policy, it also failed because Ryan is a poor salesman with a great grasp of policy.”