Once again, Donald Trump has thrown his defenders under the bus. Early Sunday morning, the president appeared on Fox News and blurted out that he really did call the House Republican healthcare bill "mean" behind closed doors. He likes the new bill though. But he admits that no one's going to love it.
Fox and Friends host Pete Hegseth asked Trump how he responds to a Facebook post from Barack Obama in which the former president said that, "small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation."
Hearing his own words coming out of Obama's mouth was too much for Trump. "He used my term: 'mean,'" Trump said. "That was my term, because I want to see — and I speak from the heart — that's what I want to see. I want to see a bill with heart."
Earlier in June, multiple outlets reported that Trump had urged senators in a close door session to give the new bill more heart and he said the first bill was, "mean, mean, mean." House Majority leader Paul Ryan later told the press that the comments were "some kind of a misinterpretation of a private meeting."
His characterization of the bill as "mean" was particularly ridiculous because he'd held a ceremony in the Rose Garden after it passed and praised it as "very, very incredibly well-crafted." Democrats seized the opportunity and began creating plans to use the remark to show that even Trump believes the bill is heartless. Now, the Democrats won't have to rely on reporting, they can just use Trump's documented words to show how disingenuous he is when praising these bills.
Trump didn't speak about any real specifics in the bill this morning. Fox asked him how he responds to Elizabeth Warren's claim that many people will die because of this bill. He avoided the substance of the question and attacked Warren as "a hopeless case," then used his favourite racist nickname for her, "Pocahontas."
He also attacked Democrats for being "obstructionists." "We won't get one Democrat vote. Not one. And if it were the greatest bill ever proposed in mankind, we wouldn't get a vote." he said.
Republicans have made it a habit to say that the Democrats refuse to work with them on healthcare, but the fact is they aren't invited. Most Republicans weren't initially invited. A few senators drafted the new bill in secret. Republicans plan to use "budget reconciliation" to pass the bill with no Democrat support. The obscure procedure was used by Democrats back when they were working on the Affordable Care Act, but in that case, Democrats eventually allowed many Republican amendments to the bill. That is not expected to be the case this time around.
Trump's excitement for the new bill seems more subdued than last time. He expressed how hard it is to come to an agreement on healthcare, "Honestly, nobody can be totally happy, even without the votes." Then he admitted that the current effort is just to find something that "everybody's going to like." A man who can hardly make it through three sentences without abusing superlatives, couldn't muster anything more than "like." "I'd like to say love, but like," was all he could hope for.
"I speak from the heart," Trump emphasised. But when asked about the people who will die because of this legislation, all he can do is attack an individual. When Trump's words claim a bill is "very, very, incredibly well-crafted" one month, and "mean, mean, mean" the next, it indicates that his words are entirely empty. If he speaks from the heart, what does that say about his heart?