The issue of Donald Trump’s actual knowledge about the legislation being debated in Congress, which, if it passes,--he will almost certainly sign into law---has entered front and center stage. The rap is he knows he wants a “big beautiful” healthcare system but he has no clue how the component parts actually work. Some claim, by comparison, President Barack Obama knew almost every comma and period as he fielded questions at town hall meetings, discussed it fully on national TV with Congress and went on a speaking tour to push the controversial legislation that ultimately bears his name, Obamacare.
Trump, on the other hand, has talked in general terms but hasn’t shown much of a command of the details of the respective pieces of legislation. It is almost as he will sign anything just to get a legislative win. Which kinda explains why he called the House bill “mean” after taking credit for it passing the House weeks before.
Not that Obama’s special knowledge for I’s dotted and t’s crossed meant he knew everything. For one, he has been credited as making the “lie of the year” and some say of the century--by claiming insureds could keep their doctors and their insurance policies. Cross that one off.
The current president has threatened Congress people who won’t tote the bill line but his own town halls, on-TV chats with Congress, speeches providing specifics—NOT! Thus, there is legitimate concern he doesn’t understand it, so therefore cannot and won’t explain it.
Which might be the reason that today during an interview on MSNBC, Cassidy was questioned about the President’s knowledge of the legislation serving the cornerstone of his administration.
The issue arose when Hallie Jackson questioned Cassidy about whether it was important for Trump to understand the political, the policies, the intricacies of the healthcare legislation that is on life-support, in the US Senate.
Cassidy responded, “It is important for him to understand the principle, the principle that there should be a replace associated with repeal, and during the campaign he consistently said he wanted to continue coverage for those who had, cover pre-existing conditions, eliminate mandates and lower premiums, those are very good principles by which to go”
So, in short, the answer is no.
And just think—Republicans now for years have criticized Speaker Pelosi for uttering those infamous words about how we should pass the Affordable Care Act so we know what’s in it. Oh, Brother!
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) July 20, 2017
However, the question over the President’s knowledge of details is not the only issue. After all, if asked, my guess is Trump would likely say that none of the prior presidents would to know the details either or even read the legislation. But right now, the real inquiry, is not necessarily that of knowing legislative details, but the “principles” of persuasive consistency and presidential credibility.
Over the past few days, the President surely has caused some confusion related to exactly how he wanted to proceed as that bill flounders.
As Cassidy mentioned, during the primary season, Trump said he wanted to repeal and replace Obamacare while maintaining pre-existing coverage and ensure coverage for everybody. Asked during the debates how he would do it--he basically said by allowing health insurance policies to be across state lines.
Shortly after he was elected, he mentioned that his plan had repeal and replace occurring very close, maybe at the same time.
Yet a couple of weeks ago, perhaps out of frustration, Trump has promoted repealing without immediately replacing the healthcare program. As an apparent backup plan, he has spoken warmly about just allowing Obamacare fail. In fact, his own DHH appears to be doing just that as it has funded commercials denouncing the current law, therefore quickening its demise.
As late as Tuesday, Trump tweeted that “As he has always said, let Obamacare fail and then come together and do a great healthcare plan. Stay Tuned.”
As he has “always said”? Did I sleep through that part of the debates?
Then on Wednesday, his message was different. One tweet said the Republican Senators “must keep their promise to America!” and at a luncheon with the Republican Senate at the White House, he said “We have to repeal and replace Obamacare. We can repeal it, but the best is repeal and replace, and let's get going. I intend to keep my promise, and I know you will too.”
Which is great, I guess, although I am not quite sure if he’s referring to the promise of repeal only, repeal and replace or his “always said, let Obamacare fail, commitment.
To be honest, at this point, I’d be pleased if he at least glanced at the legislation's Cliff Notes and then made up his mind for sure.