After "Fake News" Claims, Trump's First Calls After Health-Care Defeat Were to N.Y. Times, Washington Post
Before addressing the nation, the president phoned the outlets to say, "The best thing that could happen is exactly what happened."
Before President Donald Trump spoke to the American people after the defeat of his proposed health care bill, he first reached out to two outlets he has previously referred to as "fake news."
Moments after Trump and GOP leaders pulled their Obamacare repeal bill off the House floor on Friday, Trump spoke to The New York Times over the telephone, where he blamed Democrats and predicted the Affordable Care Act will "explode."
“The best thing that could happen is exactly what happened — watch,” he told the Times. “It’s enough already.”
The Washington Post's Robert Costa wrote that Trump called his cellphone to inform him that the health care bill was dead.
"President Trump called me on my cellphone on Friday afternoon at 3:31 p.m. At first I thought it was a reader with a complaint since it was a blocked number," wrote Costa. "Instead, it was the president calling from the Oval Office. His voice was even, his tone muted. He did not bury the lede: 'Hello, Bob,' Trump began. 'So, we just pulled it.'"
Trump, who had vowed throughout his campaign and after taking office that he would fix America's health care system, also told Costa that the Democrats were to blame.
“The beauty,” Trump said while referring to the Democrats, “is that they own Obamacare. So when it explodes they come to us and we make one beautiful deal for the people.”
Shortly after, Trump addressed the nation, where he again predicted on live television that the Affordable Care Act, which he referred to only as Obamacare, will ultimately explode and force the Democrats to work with them on a better plan.
"We were very close and it was a very tight margin," said Trump from the Oval Office. "We had no Democrat support, we had no votes from the Democrats. They weren't going to give us a single vote so it was a very difficult thing to do.
"The best thing we can do politically speaking is let Obamacare explode. It's exploding right now. Almost all states have big problems," he said, naming Tennessee and Kentucky as examples.
Trump, who recently gave an interview to Time magazine about all of the events he claims to have predicted, then predicted a "very, very bad" 2017.
"A lot of people don't realize how good our bill was because they were viewing Phase 1, but when you add Phase 2 and Phase 3, which I think we would have gotten, it became a great bill," he said.
When taking questions later, Trump conceded, however, that he there were "things in this bill that I didn't particularly like." He said, "We can do a better bill" and said that Obamacare was 100 percent Democratic and that "having a bi-partisan" bill would be a "good thing."
Despite the humiliating loss, Trump reiterated that the best thing that could happen is what happened today, because "we'll end up with a truly great bill in the future after this mess known as Obamacare explodes.
"What would be really good is if the Democrats, when it explodes, which it will soon, is if they got together with us and if we got a real health care bill," he said. "I'd be totally open to it."
He then singled out Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.
"I think the losers are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer because now they own it," he said. "They 100 percent own it. This is not a Republican health care. They have Obamacare for a little while longer until it ceases to exist, which it will, at some point in the future."
He added, "When they all become civilized and get together and try to work out a great health care [system] for this country we're totally open to it."
Trump said he learned a lot from the process, including about loyalty, the voting process and about some "very archaic rules in obviously the Senate and the House." He maintained that the experience will result in a better health care plan in the "no-so-distant" future.
He continued, "Bad things are going to happen to Obamacare. There's not much you can do to help it. I've been saying that for a year and a half: The insurance companies are leaving and you have states in some cases [that] soon will not be covered. There's no way out of that."
Despite harping on the fact that "we will be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future," he insisted that he does want great health care for the people of this nation. Saying of the Democrats, "Whenever they're ready, we're ready."
Before signing off on Friday, Trump reminded Americans that he never said he planned to repeal and replace the bill within 64 days of taking office.
"I have a long time," he said. "I really believe there will be some Democratic support that will happen."
Many politicians were swift to react to the development on social media, including Trump's former Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton who called today a "victory for all Americans."
Today was a victory for all Americans. pic.twitter.com/LX6lzQXtBR— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 24, 2017