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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

The following is a rush transcript of President Trump’s comments a few moments ago on Obamacare. There may be small textual errors. But it will give you a broad sense of what he said. It’s important to read.

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President Trump just gave an angry, thrashing, desperate sounding series of remarks about Obamacare. He pressed the point that people think it’s an emergency now that he’s cut off CSR payments. And he thinks that’s good. He went on about how the health insurers only fund Democrats, lashed out at Democrats, says healthcare is going to be great once they repeal Obamacare. It struck me as more unhinged and febrile than usual for Trump. One continuing theme is that even through his anger and need to lash out he seems not to understand even the most elemental details of how the health care system or Obamacare works.

Here’s a bit of video that capture the tone …

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Going on two years ago I read something formative to my understanding of Donald Trump. It was a column by then-Times business columnist Joe Nocera. The column was about a particular swindle with a golf resort. Standard Trump. But the part that mattered was Nocera’s observation about Trump’s fundamental way of doing business and interacting with other people, one he knew from years of covering Trump.

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A key moment today at the ‘Values Voters Summit’. Steve Bannon was listing off all the great things the President has done since his favored candidate went down to defeat in Alabama. Among them, Bannon admitted what the White House has repeatedly denied, which is that Trump decided to cut off CSR payments to make the health insurance exchanges blow up, thus making prices skyrocket.

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President Trump straight up lied in his speech today on ‘decertifying’ the Iran nuclear deal. He said: “The Iranian regime has committed multiple violations of the agreement.” This is not true. The US, the Europeans, outside observers, the inspectors all agree that Iran is meeting the conditions of the deal. If Iran were violating the deal, all of this drama wouldn’t have been necessary. Trump could have just canceled the deal without any need to justify the decision. He would have had broad support for doing so. That’s the bind he’s been in. The Iranians are keeping their end of the bargain. So Trump really hasn’t had a good rationale – legal or geopolitical – for getting out.

But there’s a different part of the speech I want to focus on. In addition to all the things the President says his new policy will accomplish he made this pledge. “We will deny the regime all paths to a nuclear weapon.”

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The big news out this morning is the overnight decision to end so-called CSR payments to insurers. We’ll have articles out today with technical details. But these are payments which are part of the framework which keeps insurance rates affordable in the Obamacare markets. Doing this directly, intentionally makes rates spike. They may not say it out loud. But many Republicans, especially in the Senate, had no appetite for this action, mainly because they know the consequences will fall largely on them.

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