President Trump calls Obamacare a “big, fat, ugly lie” https://t.co/zgdnqx82CV
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) July 24, 2017
When Donald Trump seemingly threatened anti-Trumpcare Republican Sen. Dean Heller last week, the president also blanketed his criticism of other GOP congresspeople and Democratic opposition who wouldn’t let the slight Senate majority’s plan go forward. “Any senator who votes against starting debate,” he said, “is really telling America that you’re fine with Obamacare.” Trump then issued a sweeping rhetorical challenge calling on all of Congress to stay put in Washington until a passable bill was put in place and sent his way. Unsurprisingly, he ranted on Twitter early Saturday morning and went golfing later in the day — thereby ignoring his own decree.
Come Monday afternoon, however, the president followed Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Vice President Mike Pence during a health care-centric press conference. In the last of several sporadic tweets issued earlier that morning, Trump exclaimed, “Republicans have a last chance to do the right thing on Repeal & Replace after years of talking & campaigning on it.” True to form, he reiterated similar criticisms of his own governing party during his 10-minute speech, but he also said a lot of eyebrow-raising (or erasing) lines, too.
At the very beginning of his remarks, after thanking Price and Pence for their introductions, Trump instantaneously inflamed every journalist, politico and Twitter troll watching when he implied Obamacare had been around for much longer than it actually has. “For the past 17 years, Obamacare has wreaked havoc on the lives of innocent, hardworking Americans.” The president was evidently having trouble reading from his teleprompter, as he said “seven years” in subsequent remarks, but the damage was already done.
“Obamacare is death”
During a segment dedicated to the Democrats’ unwillingness to support any part or parcel of the House and Senate bills to repeal and replace Obamacare, Trump lampooned the “obstructionists” as mindless politicians who didn’t even know the bills’ contents. “The didn’t even know the bill,” he said. “They run out. They say, ‘Death death death!’ Well Obamacare is death. That’s the one that’s death. And besides that, it’s failing you so won’t have that anyway.” Whether or not the horrors caused by Obamacare professed here actually exist remains to be seen, but considering the CBO’s most recent scores for the Senate’s plans, “Trumpcare” could be much worse.
“That’s pretty bad”
A couple of times during the press conference, Trump did something decidedly strange. He abandoned his teleprompter and podium, turned to the supposed Obamacare victims gathered behind him, and sought positive affirmation from them for whatever he’d just said. Like when, for example, the president ended one particular anecdote with a sour note about a family having to abandon their poor health coverage and opt for Medicaid instead. “That’s pretty bad,” he told two different families, who simply looked at him sans expression. “No choice, right?” Considering the massive spotlight already thrust upon these people, it’s no wonder they didn’t do or say anything. As for Trump’s decision to go off-script and include them… it was awkward.
“Some are demanding”
CNN and other major outlets are running with Trump’s repeated criticism of his own Republican party, which the president has previously faulted for failing to pass repeal and replace legislation. In the midst of issuing his biting comments against the GOP yet again, however, Trump trained his ire partially at the very Americans who “should be demanding” reforms. “The Senate bill,” he said, “will deliver truly great health care and health care reforms that our citizens want, need and really should be demanding.” He quickly saved face and added, “Some are demanding. You’ll see that at the voter booth. Believe me.” In other words, Trump momentarily criticized the very citizens he and other Republicans are professing they represent for not demanding Obamacare’s repeal and replacement hard enough.
Watch Trump’s full speech below.