Obamacare Survives, Trump Embarrassed By His Own Party
The alleged Dealmaker failed to make a deal with his own party. After learning from House Speaker Paul Ryan that the Republican party had not secured enough votes to pass the American Health Care Act ("Trumpcare"), Trump asked Ryan to pull the bill moments before the scheduled 3:30pm vote. As House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D - CA) quipped, "it was a rookie mistake." Trump and Ryan had no business fast tracking a bill in its infancy to the floor without knowing whether the caucus would support it. This amounts to more than just failed leadership. Passing Trumpcare was the central focus of this administration. Failing to pass it has resulted in the single most embarrassing legislative setback in modern political history.
Trump and every Republican holding office has sworn to 'repeal and replace' the popular Affordable Care Act (ACA) healthcare program most commonly known as Obamacare. The Republican Party failed to produce the results it promised after winning three consecutive national elections. This repeal was discussed ad nauseam during the past three elections. Republicans fundraised on the claim that the ACA would be repealed and they spent billions of dollars on the repeal effort. For Republicans, repealing the ACA has been the central galvanizing principle. Every Republican candidate last Fall ran with ACA repeal as the unifying reason to support their candidacy.
Unlike 'Mr. Art of the Deal', Speaker Ryan showed humility and expressed a need for the party to regroup in his post Trumpcare failure press conference. Ryan informed that, "Moving from an opposition party to a governing party comes with growing pains. We came really close today, but we came up short." Ryan's subdued reaction was befitting the situation, but also represented a stark contrast to the message delivered from the Oval Office. Rather than internalize shortcomings and missteps, Trump wasted fifteen minutes blaming Democrats for the Trumpcare collapse. The specific target of his delusional attacks was Democratic leadership. Trump initiated his confused remarks contending, "We were very close. It was a very very tight margin."
The margin could have only been one vote. It is still of no consequence as the vote would have failed. Once Trump accepts that reality he can begin the process of governing. Trump went on to say, "We had no Democrat [sic] support. We had no votes from the Democrats. They weren't going to give us a single vote, so it's a very difficult thing to do." Yes Mr. Trump, governing is difficult a thing to do. This is why political neophytes are generally not elected. But recall Trump's self assessment.
During a Republican debate held at St. Anselm's College in New Hampshire, Trump gave his perception of the qualities a good dealmaker must possess. "With Congress, you have to get everybody in a room and you have to get 'em to agree. You have to get 'em to agree [with] what you want. And that's part of being a dealmaker." Despite all his election bluster, Trump learned the hard way that legislating is not the same as campaign pontificating. Trump falsely presumed the issuance of an edict was adequate to whip his caucus into submission. The petulant, silver spoon real estate developer exhausted every trick in his arsenal to no avail.
Trump pressured House Republicans by delivering empty threats to publicly shame them on social media, he invited them to the White House and made undisclosed promises, he even issued an ineffective ultimatum. None of it mattered. When the dust settled, our Negotiator-in-chief couldn't even manage to negotiate with folks sharing political affiliation and ideology. No president in recent history has suffered such a blow at the hands of his own party.
Later in that same St. Anselm's debate Trump attempted to disparage President Obama for taking annual vacations to his place of birth. Claiming, "You can't leave the White House, go to Hawaii and play golf for three weeks and be a real dealmaker. It doesn't work that way. You have to get people in. Grab 'em, hug 'em, kiss 'em, and get the deal done. But it's gotta be the deal that you want." This has proven nonsensical in hindsight, considering Trump has taken weekly trips to a Florida golf resort named Mar-a-Lago. Not annually like his predecessor, or monthly, but Trump has cost U.S. taxpayers $3 million per week on his weekend excursions to the exclusive resort. Rather than waste taxpayer dollars taking weekly vacations to Mar-a-Lago, Trump would have been better served working to garner support for his failed healthcare bill.
During a press conference immediately following the decision to pull the bill, Trump asserted, "I think the losers are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer because now they own Obamacare." Trump is very gifted with messaging and repackaging nonsense. However, peddling nonsense only goes as far as the truth will allow. Facts dictate that Trump's party controls what laws are brought for a vote and what laws are passed. As it currently stands, the passage or demise of legislation is determined by the Republican Party, period. Any assertion to the contrary is a dismissal of truth. Regardless of how many ways Trump makes the claim, Democrats do own the Trumpcare defeat.
House Democrats could not have been expected to gut the law they worked 14 months to pass, a law that insured 25 million Americans who could not otherwise receive health coverage.
If the 2016 presidential campaign did not reveal how grossly ill-prepared Trump is to be president, this recent legislative debacle surely does. Trump will not quickly recover from this. He has proven to be a thin-skinned egomaniac and quick to retaliate to the slightest hint of opposition. Reflection is not a skill he has mastered. Thus, chances are likely Trump will stir up some social media controversy in the near future to draw attention away from this Trumpcare embarrassment.
During Trump's press conference following the Trumpcare failure, he offered the world a glimpse of his nonempathetic worldview, "I've been saying for the last year and a half that the best thing we could do politically speaking is let Obamacare explode. It is exploding right now." In addition to revealing how callous and unconcerned he is with less advantaged people, Trump's remark was yet another falsehood in a long line from this administration. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the ACA was sustainable for generations as it lowered costs for the vast majority of Americans. Contrarily, the CBO score of Trumpcare exposed its substantial flaws, namely, the fact that 24 million people would lose health coverage if passed.
When the current White House occupant asked the following two questions, the Republican Party should have known he was in way over his head: "Who knew healthcare was so complicated?" and "Who knew there were so many factions within the Republican Party?" The answer to both 'Who knew?' questions is simple – anyone willing to stop watching cable news and actually do their homework.
So much for, "There's going to be so much winning you're going to get sick of winning." To date, Trump has lost on Muslim Ban 1 and Muslim Ban 2. He was then caught lying about Trump Tower wiretaps, and now he has failed to secure the votes in his own party to pass a signature health care law. Opponents of Trump's draconian agenda are not getting tired of his losing. How much losing can Trump endure and at what point will his failed presidency culminate in a self-destructive end?