Donald Trump has pushed back against reports that he has not been engaged in the Senate Republican leadership’s fight to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Several news outlets, which Mr Trump again referred to as “the Fake News Media”, have reported that the President has not interacted enough with senators – through phone calls and other activities – to push forward his legislative agenda, and that the leader has even made negative comments about Congress's efforts for a healthcare overhaul.
“Some of the Fake News Media likes to say that I am not totally engaged in healthcare. Wrong, I know the subject well & want victory for U.S.,” Mr Trump tweeted.
In another tweet, Mr Trump berated the New York Times for writing “false story after false story about” him, claiming that the “failing” newspaper doesn’t call to verify the facts of its articles.
“A Fake News Joke!” he declared.
Mr Trump had worked to cajole and woo members of the House of Representatives to support the lower chamber’s healthcare bill, which narrowly passed last month. However, in another display of the US leader’s seemingly mercurial temperament, Mr Trump proceeded to tell senators that the House’s version is “mean”.
“This President is the first president in our history who has neither political nor military experience, and thus it has been a challenge to him to learn how to interact with Congress and learn how to push his agenda better,” Republican Senator Susan Collins told reporters.
Ms Collins opposes the Senate’s healthcare bill in its current form and was one of the first to announce she would vote against a motion to begin debate on the measure.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was forced to postpone a vote on the legislation after it appeared that he would be unable to muster enough support from members of his own party. Senate leadership had been pushing for a vote by the end of the week before members of Congress leave Washington DC for the 4 July recess.Mitch McConnell was forced to postpone a vote on the legislation after it appeared that he would be unable to muster enough support from members of his own party. Senate leadership had been pushing for a vote by the end of the week before members of Congress leave Washington DC for the 4 July recess.
After the announcement of the vote’s postponement, Mr Trump invited Republicans over to the White House to discuss how to proceed.
During his opening remarks, the President declared that Obamacare “is melting down”, adding that Senate Republicans and the White House are “getting very close” to reaching agreement on a path toward getting the votes needed to pass the latest healthcare bill.
“This will be great if we get it done,” Mr Trump said. But appearing to recognise the opposition the bill faces, he added: “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 okay, and I understand that very well.”
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