President Trump shifted the blame for inaction on key issues including health care to Democrats in a lengthy and wide-ranging CBS interview that aired Sunday.
Trump told Face the Nation anchor John Dickerson that the job is "something that I really love and I think I've done a very good job at it."
Trump maintained there is yet another version of the American Health Care Act, House Republicans' plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, and blamed obstruction by Democrats for Congress' failure to pass the legislation before his 100th day in Congress, although Republicans control both chambers of Congress.
Trump also maintained that "preexisting conditions are in the bill. I mandated it." Coverage with people with existing medical conditions has to be included, he continued, because "Obamacare is dead." That is an apparent reference to the struggles the ACA has had in states, including Oklahoma and Tennessee, which have had mass exoduses from the health exchanges.
Others, however, charge that it is such talk and Congress' actions that present the most risk to the health law that even House Speaker Paul Ryan reminded recently is "the law of the land." Larry Levitt, executive vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, tweeted that statements like Trump's create the kind of uncertainty that leads insurers to exit the health exchanges.
If I'm an insurer hoping that cost-sharing subsidies continue, this makes me very nervous. Nervous = exit the market or raise premiums. https://t.co/wZKogDed14— Larry Levitt (@larry_levitt) April 30, 2017
To Dickerson's suggestion that Trump's supporters would be hurt by the AHCA, Trump noted, "It’s much different than it was a little while ago. This has evolved over a period of days." States, he said, will have more control over risk pools.
Risk pools have traditionally not served patients well as they either cost individuals or the government too much money, says R. Adams Dudley, a physician and director of the Center for Healthcare Value at the University of California, San Francisco.
Beyond his comments to Dickerson, Trump tweeted Sunday that Democrats wanted to bail out insurance companies and large donors. A new Trump plan, he tweeted, would feature lower insurance premiums and deductibles as well as let customers with preexisting medical conditions buy health insurance.
You can't compare anything to ObamaCare because ObamaCare is dead. Dems want billions to go to Insurance Companies to bail out donors....New— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 30, 2017
...healthcare plan is on its way. Will have much lower premiums & deductibles while at the same time taking care of pre-existing conditions!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 30, 2017
A version of the evolving Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act allowed for states to limit coverage for those with preexisting conditions, a provision that cost the support of Republican moderates who already oppose attempts by Ryan and others to change the law. The first version of the Republican plan failed to receive a vote in the House, because it was obvious not enough Republicans were willing to vote for it.
Along with his tweets on health care Sunday, Trump tweeted about the many news reports focusing on coverage of his first 100 days in office Saturday and jokes at the White House Correspondents Association dinner that night. Trump skipped the event, making him the first president since President Ronald Reagan to miss it. (Reagan, convalescing from an assassination attempt, sent Vice President George H.W. Bush.)
Other issues Trump discussed during the CBS interview Sunday included:
- North Korea. Trump continued to say that he doesn't like to telegraph his thinking on the use of military force. Hours after North Korea had its second ballistic missile test fail on takeoff, Trump told Dickerson "I will not be happy" if the country attempts a nuclear test, but refused to talk further about what his anger could mean when it comes to action. He also said "I really have no comment" about North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-Un, and then proceeded to make a series of comments, including that he really has "no idea" on Kim's sanity other than that "obviously, he's a pretty smart cookie." The situation with North Korea should not have been allowed to go on for so long, Trump said, and should have been "taken care of by the Obama administration" and the two before it.
- Our political system. When it comes to lesson learned in his presidency, Trump's biggest one is what he calls the dishonesty of the media. Pressed further, he volunteered that he learned about the obstructionist tendencies of Democrats, "unbelievably archaic and slow moving" congressional rules that have impeded progress in Trump's first 100 days. Votes on the AHCA, however, haven't happened because of disagreements within conservative and moderate factions of Trump's own party.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who ran against Trump for the Republican nomination, tweeted Sunday that he finds it unfortunate that Trump is still speaking in such a divisive manner at this point in his administration. Kasich's new book, not coincidentally, is called Two Paths: American Divided or United.
Saddened the president continues to divide America with his rhetoric & policies. There is a better path and hope he finds it soon. #TwoPaths— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) April 30, 2017