Donald Trump just tweeted 2 totally contradictory solutions to the health care collapse
Posted July 18
Here's Donald Trump at 10:17 pm eastern Monday night -- following the news that the Senate health care bill had failed: "Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!"
Here's Donald Trump at 7:58 am eastern Tuesday morning: "As I have always said, let ObamaCare fail and then come together and do a great healthcare plan. Stay tuned!"
There are only two possible options that explain these obviously contradictory tweets:
Trump changed his mind on the right next step on health care between 10 p.m. ET last night and 8 a.m. this morning.Trump doesn't know -- or doesn't care -- that letting the current law wither on the vine (tweet #2) isn't the same thing as a vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act and then replace it (tweet #1).
I'm putting my money on the latter option.
Why? Because throughout his first six months in office and, in particular, during the negotiations on this health care bill, Trump has shown virtually zero familiarity with or interest in how a bill becomes a law.
"We're getting it together and it's going to happen," Trump said of the health care legislation on Monday afternoon. "Right, Mike?" he asked, turning to the vice president. "I think."
What Trump wants -- on health care and everything else -- is clear: A win. He wants something to sign. He wants the photo op. (He held one with House Republicans following the passage of their version of health care in May, a move that seems like spiking the football on the 10-yard line in retrospect.)
How that win comes isn't really much of a concern to Trump. And, if a win doesn't come, he rapidly begins the process of putting blame somewhere other than on himself.
Witness his other tweet Tuesday morning: "We were let down by all of the Democrats and a few Republicans. Most Republicans were loyal, terrific & worked really hard. We will return!" "We" were let down by Republicans and Democrats. Trump didn't fail. All the other politicians did.
Why does this matter moving forward?
Well, it makes Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's job that much harder when it comes to health care. McConnell came out in favor of a straight "repeal" vote on Monday night -- in seeming coordination with Trump. But now Trump is saying Republicans should allow the bill to collapse under its own weight. So, which is it?
Then there's the bigger problem as Republicans try to get beyond health care and into tax reform, immigration and other issues. Trump's seeming total lack of awareness about how the legislative process works and lack of interest in the nitty-gritty details of how policy gets made is very problematic.
How can he be the persuader-in-chief if he doesn't even really know what he is trying to persuade people about?