Trump Once Again Blames Mystery Hospitalized Senator For Repeal Failure

Carolyn Kaster/AP

President Donald Trump said once again Thursday that the Senate would be able to pass an Obamacare repeal bill but for the missing vote of one hospitalized senator — despite the fact that no senators are currently hospitalized, and even with one extra vote in support of the measure, fewer than 50 senators would support it.

On Wednesday, the office of Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) corrected Trump multiple times: The senator was not in the hospital, they said, but rather at home recovering from treatment “for a urological issue.”

Still, Trump asserted again on Thursday morning that “we have the votes” to repeal Obamacare, but that a hospitalized senator had halted the effort to pass the legislation with a simple 50 votes by Friday using reconciliation.

“So we don’t have enough time, because we have one senator who’s a ‘yes’ vote, a great person, but he’s in the hospital,” he told “Fox & Friends'” Pete Hegseth. “And he’s a ‘yes’ vote. So we can’t do it by Friday.”

The White House did not respond to TPM’s request for comment.

On Monday, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) joined Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and John McCain (R-AZ) in opposing the Graham-Cassidy legislation to repeal Obamacare, effectively ending Republicans’ most recent effort.

Since then, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) criticized the “lousy process”  by which the legislation was rammed through the Senate, and one of the bill’s co-authors, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), said of his recent focus on health care: “Well, I’ve been doing it for about a month. I thought everybody else knew what the hell they were talking about, but apparently not.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.

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