President Donald Trump expressed frustration on Wednesday at Senate Republicans’ failure, so far, to repeal and replace Obamacare and make deep cuts to Medicaid.
“I am sitting in the Oval Office with a pen in hand, waiting for our senators to give it to me,” Trump told Pat Robertson, the conservative Christian founder of Christian Broadcasting Network. “For years, they’ve been talking about repeal-replace, repeal-replace.”
Mediaite noted it was Trump’s first interview with an outlet that wasn’t Fox News in more than two months.
Trump said congressional Republicans’ votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act during the Obama administration “didn’t mean anything,” undercutting Republicans’ frequent boasts that the symbolic repeal votes showed their resolve to get rid of the legislation.
“Now we have a President that’s waiting to sign it,” Trump said, referring to the Obamacare repeal bill. “I have pen in hand, so now it means something. You know, those other times, those many, many times, that they passed it, it didn’t mean anything.”
Senate Republicans have been hesitant to line up behind the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the conference’s bill to repeal Obamacare and make deep cuts to Medicaid. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delayed the Senate’s scheduled August recess for two weeks on Tuesday in an effort to allow more time to wrangle Republican votes for the bill.
“We have 52 senators,” the President added. “It’s very hard to get… We need almost all of them. You need almost all of them and that’s the hold up. And states are somewhat different. But with all of that being said, it has to get passed. They have to do it. They have to get together and get it done.”
“What will happen if they don’t?” Robertson asked.
“Well, I don’t even want to talk about it because I think it would be very bad,” Trump said. “I will be very angry about it, and a lot of people will be very upset. But I’m sitting, waiting for that bill to come to my desk. I hope that they do it. They’ve been promising it for years. They’ve been promising it ever since Obamacare, which is failed. It’s a failed experiment. It is totally gone. It’s out of business and we have to get this done. Repeal and replace.”
“He’s got to pull it off. Mitch has to pull it off,” he added, referring to McConnell. “He’s working very hard. He’s got to pull it off.”