President Donald Trump blamed Democrats on Friday for the failure of the Republican bill to replace to Affordable Care Act and said “the best thing we can do is let Obamacare explode.”
Speaking from the Oval Office after he told House Speaker Paul Ryan to pull the bill when it became clear it did not have enough Republican votes to pass, Trump took aim at the Democrats, who do not have a majority in either branch of Congress.
“We had no Democrat support,” Trump said, later adding, “A lot of people don’t realise how good our bill was.”
“Obamacare is exploding — with no Democratic support we couldn’t quite get there,” he said.
Trump added the real “losers” were Democratic leaders, and not Republican leadership.
“I think the losers are [House Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi and [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer because now they own Obamacare,” the president said.
Trump said the bill, called the American Health Care Act, fell about 10 to 15 votes short of being able to pass. He said the failure will lead to “a better bill” being able to be put together in what he hopes is a “bipartisan” fashion. Trump said there were aspects of the current bill he did not like.
“I’m disappointed,” he said of the bill’s failure. “I’m a little surprised to be honest with you. We really had it, it was pretty much there within grasp.”
Next up for the Trump administration will be tax reform, he said.
The president also thanked Ryan, who he said “worked very, very hard.” Assessing his own performance, Trump said he “worked as a team player.” He added that he “learned about some very arcane rules” through the process, which has “certainly been an interesting experience.”
Democrats, such as Schumer, were quick to take a victory lap after the bill failed. Speaking to reporters Friday, Ryan said Republicans came “really close,” adding “this is a setback.”