Shortly after Senate Republicans canceled the planned vote on their health care bill this week, putting the future of the legislation in question, President Donald Trump invited them all to a meeting at the White House. Presumably, the meeting was called so he could exhort them to pass a bill.
But his opening remarks — delivered with reporters present — were something less than a stirring call to action.
As usual, the president called Obamacare “a disaster. Then he proceeded to proclaim, “I think we have either 52 out of 52 or 50 out of 52 [Republican senators]” in support of a health bill — something that is flatly untrue, since nine Republican senators have already announced their opposition to the current draft.
And then things got weird.
“This will be great if we get it done,” Trump said. “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.”
It’s rather odd for the president to say it would be “okay” if the Senate doesn’t pass the bill he’s sold as his major legislative priority. It’s unclear if he was just speaking carelessly, or if he was trying to make the point that he thinks it might be politically beneficial to him if Obamacare simply collapses (a point he’s made in the past). And perhaps he’ll give a more pointed pitch behind closed doors.
Still, it was a strange way for Trump to kick off a meeting with the senators he needs to win over. Here are his full remarks: