The good news about Donald Trump is that it took him two months to disappoint me and many others who voted for him, supported him enthusiastically and championed his candidacy when we were told there was no chance for him to win.
He has been so strong in so many ways in the first two months of his presidency. His performance has been unprecedented in my lifetime of watching politics.
But the really bad news is what he has done with Obamacare, betraying one of the signature promises of his campaign, a vow he didn’t just break, but shattered, while blaming the very people who were trying to keep the promise – the House Freedom Caucus.
I invite you to watch the video montage I had put together of Trump’s repeated promises not to dismantle Obamacare piecemeal over a year or two, but to do it “immediately”:
I doubt he would be president today if he had not been so adamant on that promise.
But today, in his third month in office, he has declared war on the House Freedom Caucus, a singularly courageous and committed group of conservative Republicans, for fighting to keep their promise to their constituents to repeal Obamacare, as well as to fight for what Trump unequivocally promised to do.
By the way, while Paul Ryan was criticizing Trump, distancing himself from him throughout the campaign and refusing, at times, to campaign with him, most of the members of the House Freedom Caucus were behind Trump 100 percent, certainly once he got the Republican nomination.
Yet Trump, who had run against the Republican establishment, threw his lot in with the personification of that establishment in the person of Paul Ryan. He cobbled together a bill that didn’t even come close to repealing Obamacare – certainly none of the more egregious components of it – and demanded that all Republicans betray their word, their vows, their promises to their constituents, by supporting that abomination of a bill, one that certainly would have resulted in higher health-insurance costs and leave Obama’s socialist legacy largely in place.
Today Trump told his supporters they should fight against Democrats and members of the Freedom Caucus in 2018.
Is that what we should expect from the best-selling author of “The Art of the Deal”?
I call it the art of a bad deal.
Trump didn’t try to slowly dismantle the trade legislation he so opposed during the campaign. He just killed it.
Trump didn’t try to slowly dismantle the insane refugee program he so opposed during the campaign. He just killed it.
Trump didn’t try to slowly dismantle, in partnership with the worst elements of the Republican Party, other bad policies and programs. He just swung his ax.
So why did he act so differently when it came time to addressing arguably the biggest issue of the 2016 campaign – Obamacare?
I don’t know. I don’t have an answer. It makes no rational sense.
But, worse yet, he’s blaming those who supported him unequivocally and enthusiastically throughout the campaign against Hillary Clinton and threw his lot in with play-it-safe establishment types like Ryan and plenty of Never-Trumpers in the squishy middle of the Republican Party.
It’s a shame. It’s a lost opportunity. It’s incredibly divisive. No wonder the Democrats are celebrating.
If it could get worse, Trump is now flirting with the idea of working with the Democrats on revised health-care legislation.
I know Trump wants to act quickly to make things happen in Washington. But he picked the wrong horse to work with in Paul Ryan. He should have embraced the House Freedom Caucus and used his persuasive deal-making artfulness by ramming through legislation for repeal of Obamacare, something all Republicans supported at least a dozen times in votes in recent years.
Tell me how I’m wrong.
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