As Trump's healthcare bill was on the brink of collapse, he played with a fire truck and baseball bat

It's a scenario we've seen before

Clark Mindock
New York
Tuesday 18 July 2017 15:48
Donald Trump wields a baseball bat and poses in a fire truck

Donald Trump likes to have his photo taken in big trucks, just like your average American.

Unfortunately for the President, it seems that every time he jumps into the driver's seat, Trumpcare crashes in Congress.

Mr Trump got behind the wheel of a fire truck as a part of his “Made in America” week this week, and photos show him having a pretty good time. He smiled at his vice president, Mike Pence, who stood outside of the bright red emergency vehicle and smiled back. He gave a thumbs up and waved to the press corps snapping photos of the pair. As the sun beamed down on the White House, he also played with a baseball bat for the cameras, and wore a cowboy hat.

“Where's the fire? Where's the fire? Put it out fast!” Mr Trump joked.

Not 24 hours later, the Senate’s effort to repeal and replace — or repeal to replace later, even — burned to the ground when a decisive two Republican senators said they couldn’t get behind the healthcare legislation their party's leadership had been pushing for. Those declarations killed, at least for now, a seven-year-old promise by Republicans to undo former President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement.

Mr Trump would later blame Democrats and a few Republicans for the healthcare collapse, but even members of his party signalled that the President was at least in part to blame. Senior Republicans told CNN that they were furious that Mr Trump spent his day "playing" in a fire truck, and indicated that he had "no clue" what was happening as the bill's chances of success cratered.

Just months ago, Mr Trump experienced a similar chain of events.

On March 23, the President met with truckers at the White House, and was allowed to get behind the wheel in one of the big rigs. He climbed up into the big Mack truck, while onlookers clapped. He pumped his fists triumphantly. He honked the truck’s horn.

One day later, Republicans in the House of Representatives were unable to deliver on their healthcare repeal and replace plans after Mr Trump threatened to walk away from the affair if there wasn’t a vote in the House. Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the bill from the floor after that ultimatum, after a rift between the House’s Freedom Caucus and more moderate Republicans made the Obamacare repeal unattainable.

Trump pretends to drive a truck as healthcare bill struggles to pass

Just under a month and a half later, though, the House passed their repeal and replace bill, sending the efforts over to the Senate for consideration. Whether Senate Republicans will now be able to steer their own healthcare efforts back out of the ditch remains to be seen.

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