Trump: ‘Getting Very Close’ To Repealing Obamacare, But ‘OK’ If We Don’t

President Donald Trump, center, speaks as he meets with Republican senators on health care in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, June 27, 2017. Seated with him, from left, are Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Susan Walsh/AP

President Donald Trump on Tuesday expressed optimism hours after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced he would delay a vote on Republicans’ bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Despite the President’s complaints about Democrats’ lack of participation in the repeal effort, Trump invited and met only with Republican senators at the White House Tuesday afternoon.

“I think the Senate bill is going to be great,” he said in response to shouted questions from reporters at the meeting, according to a pool report.

A pool video feed caught Trump telling the senators, “Obamacare is a total disaster” that “is melting down as we speak.”

“Rates are going up, and in fact it’s very interesting, Lisa, that you’re sitting next to me, because in Alaska it was 206 percent,” Trump told Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). “A 206 percent increase in Alaska. I used to use Arizona as the standard, that was 116 percent. So it’s really meltdown, and we’re going to try to solve the problem.”

“So I invited all of you, and I think we have either 52 out of 52 or 50 out of 52 and, John, either one is pretty good, I think, as a percentage,” he continued. “So we’re going to talk and we’re going to see what we can do. We’re getting very close. But for the country, we have to have health care. And it can’t be Obamacare, which is melting down.”

Trump accused Democrats of “saying all sorts of things before they even knew what the bill was,” referring to Senate Republicans’ Obamacare repeal bill, which was written in secret for weeks and released Thursday in anticipation of an expected vote this week.

“This will be great if we get it done, and if we don’t get it done, it’s just going to be something that we’re not going to like and that’s OK and I understand that very well,” Trump said. “But I think we have a chance to do something very, very important for the public. Very, very important for the people of our country that we love.”

“So I’ll ask the press to leave,” he concluded. “I greatly appreciate you folks being here. We love you very much, you’re very kind and very understanding. But we will now ask you to leave.”

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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