Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy, a well-known confidant to President Donald Trump, told Business Insider in an interview that the president wouldn’t repeat his “mistakes” regarding healthcare.
Ruddy was a staunch critic of the American Health Care Act, the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. The AHCA was pulled from the House floor in March when it became clear that it did not have enough votes to pass.
“He’s a pragmatic guy, so he’s going to do things that work,” Ruddy said of Trump. “He’s getting to know all the players and the processes. And, he’s probably the quickest learner I’ve ever met on things. And he doesn’t usually make the same mistake twice. So I don’t see him making the same mistakes again.”
Ruddy said Trump “invested a lot in” House Speaker Paul Ryan, who was one of the architects of the AHCA.
But although Ruddy said he doesn’t see Trump repeating his blunders, the Newsmax CEO said Trump would “still like to get” a version of the AHCA passed.
“I’ve talked to him about it,” Ruddy said. “He thinks it’s great savings for the future tax reform. I personally think it’s not a great plan. It’s not consistent with his vision for healthcare in America. And, I think it’s deadly politically.”
Ruddy predicted that observers might see just how toxic the healthcare plan was “in Georgia,” making note of the special congressional race in the Peach State’s 6th District. He added that the fallout from the deeply unpopular AHCA could be felt in the 2018 congressional races.
After the health care plan was pulled from the House floor, Ruddy wrote a piece for Newsmax under the headline “Trump Should Ditch Freedom Caucus, Seek Bipartisan Plan.”
“The most significant problem is that [the AHCA] doesn’t fulfil Trump’s own vision of universal healthcare while removing the onerous requirements of Obamacare,” Ruddy wrote. “Clearly, Trump has been acting in good faith, but he shouldn’t trust House Republicans. The president should be sticking to his guns on healthcare reform. He did so in the campaign, helping him win Democratic states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.”
Ruddy called for Trump to fix the existing healthcare law, not repeal and replace it.
Asked if he discussed his idea with Trump, Ruddy said Trump was provided with his piece.
“We have talked about healthcare and he hasn’t said, ‘Oh, I read this or that and I’m going to comment on it,'” Ruddy said. “But he was given the piece, I shared it with him, and we had a couple of discussions about healthcare — several, in fact — so that’s it.”
The Newsmax CEO, who is also a member of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club, visited Trump in the Oval Office after the president delivered his February address to a joint session of Congress. Ruddy, who has known Trump for more than a decade, says he speaks often with the president.