Even for this president, telling the Senate to fix his reform proposal is a remarkably lazy move.
While a grinning Jeff Sessions sat in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday afternoon and fabricated a novel legal doctrine that roughly translates to “I can’t answer that question because I really, really don’t want to,” his boss was also making a nonsensical appeal to members of the upper chamber, reportedly imploring a group of about a dozen Republican senators to pass a “more generous” health care reform bill than the one that made it through the House last month. Why? Because Trump now believes that the House’s proposal—you remember, the one that he championed for months on end—is simply too difficult to defend.
One source said Trump called the House bill “mean, mean, mean” and
said, “We need to be more generous, more kind.” The other source said
Trump used a vulgar phrase to describe the House bill and told the
senators, “We need to be more generous.”
What vulgar phrase, you ask?
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who is pushing the Senate to slow the
repeal of Medicaid expansion, indicated Trump is concerned about the
people who are enrolled in the program for low-income Americans.
“He talked about the need to take care of people,” Portman said of the
We need to take care of people and be more generous, said a man who tweeted constantly that his health care reform proposal would lower premiums and deductibles, cover preexisting conditions, and make insurance available to everyone. Mean, mean, mean, urged the guy who threw a fucking garden party for a health care bill that would throw an estimated 14 million people off the insurance rolls by next year. A son of a bitch, muttered the angry, flustered, confused septuagenarian about a thing that he stood up in front of the White House and referred to as “a great plan” barely more than a month ago.
The President’s attempt to saddle Senate Republicans with the task of fixing his profoundly unpopular health care bill is a remarkably lazy move, even for a man who very obviously doesn’t read, let alone understand, most of the words that come across his desk. Yes, I rolled over meekly when the House Freedom Caucus idiots demanded that the bill be made even more inhumane before they’d pass it, now please clean up the mess caused by my own cowardice and ignorance. (Politico characterizes Trump’s remarks as a “surprising critique,” which is probably gentler than the way Paul Ryan’s weary health care legislative aides would phase it right about now.) I’d feel worse for McConnell and company, but then again, they’re refusing to release the text of a bill that will affect millions of constituents’ lives because, in the words of one probably-too-honest GOP Senate staffer, “We’re not stupid.” So they can go kick rocks, too.
It’s remarkable to see in real time just how wholly bereft Donald Trump is of anything remotely resembling a strategy here. His response to barely passing a bill through one chamber is to complain to the other relevant legislative body that the same elements that got the first deal done are now the ones that have to come out, as if he truly believes that the House would just cheerfully go along with whatever the Senate says, or that it would somehow not notice that the Senate’s output looks notably different from the House’s input! The fact that the President of the United States doesn’t understand the basics of the legislative process is deeply embarrassing. Right now, Donald Trump is a petulant child who knows he can’t get what he wants from either parent, so he’s decided to close his eyes and scream in public and hope that the tantrum he’s throwing is the incentive Mom and Dad need to somehow figure it out.
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