When Asked by Tucker Carlson if he was aware that his health care bill (American Health Care Act) would be extremely detrimental to middle-lower income counties—the majority of which he won—President Trump decided not to pull a Conway-shift (he’s struggled with this sometimes), or to lie outright (he’s great at this).
Instead, he responds with an uncharacteristically straightforward: “Oh, I know that.”
This literally happened…
Tucker Carlson: "The counties who voted for you will do far worse under your plan"
Donald Trump: "Oh, I know…" pic.twitter.com/tsG96kybxe
— William LeGate (@williamlegate) March 16, 2017
Carlson: This bill has as one of its centerpieces, a tax-cut for investors that would primarily benefit people making over $250 a year—already done pretty well in the past few years as your know.
Carlson: A Bloomberg analysis showed that counties that voted for you, middle-class and working-class counties, would do far less well under this bill than the counties that voted for Hillary—more affluent counties.
Trump: Yeah. Oh, I know that.
Carlson: It seems like…
Trump: It’s very preliminary.
Carlson: …maybe this is inconsistent with the message of the last election.
Trump: No, a lot of things are inconsistent, but these things have to be negotiated…
So Trump admits that his message has been inconsistent, and he admits that the American Health Care Act (AHCA) would negatively impact a large swath of his voter base. And then, rather than defend the bill, he asserts that the bill is just preliminary.
Does Tom Price know this?
Does Gary Cohn know this?
Does Mick Mulvaney know this?
Does Paul Ryan know this?
Last week Ryan said, “Obviously, the major components are staying intact, because this is something we wrote with President Trump, this is something we wrote with the Senate committee.”
Tom Price also seems to be happy with the bill stating: “We believe strongly, strongly, that the plan we put together is so much better than the one that’s there now.”
And as the Chicago Tribune reported, Trump seemed on board with this bill in its current form last week—before all the negative press. Republican Congressman from Ohio Pat Tiberi said Trump was “110% committed to helping us get this bill into law.” And Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee Kevin Brady said, “The President made it very clear: this is his bill, and there are no excuses.”
Trump’s response to Carlson, in which he basically acknowledges that the bill is a problematic work in progress is…odd. If he really thought the bill was so glaringly imperfect, why rush it out and have to deal with the inevitable fall-out? Generally, if a president wants to garner support for a piece of legislation, especially an embattled piece of legislation, it’s not the best idea to speak openly about the bill’s faults on cable news, specifically when those faults will directly impact the electorate that said president exploited to win the job.
What a remarkably strange time for Donald Trump to try honesty.