Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He announced his third different health care policy strategy in three days.

This afternoon, at a "working lunch" with Republican senators, Trump took aim at the less than "loyal" GOP legislators who are blocking the latest version of Trumpcare, and demanded that they reverse course and bring it up for debate. 

As of 5:58 A.M. yesterday morning, Trump's plan was to "let Obamacare fail" in the expectation that Democrats and moderate Republicans would be forced to the bargaining table. (Trump has openly declared his intention to help that "failure" along in a number of ways.) That superseded his previous strategy, announced Monday at 8:17 P.M., of pursuing a repeal-only agenda.

Prior to that, in reverse chronological order, Trump
  • brought Republican senators to the White House (no lunch this time) to urge them to resume work on the previously failed version, but also said that if they didn't, "that's OK." (6/27/2017)
  • was opposed to the House version of his own plan as too "mean." (6/13/2017)
  • rescinded his campaign promise not to cut Medicare and Medicaid. (5/23/2017)
  • expressed admiration for Australia's socialized single-payer system. (5/5/2017)
  • celebrated the passage of a different House version in a Rose Garden ceremony. (5/4/2017)
  • told the House to pass the version of Trumpcare before them immediately or give up forever. (3/23/2017)
  • said that the purpose of his replacement plan was not to get people insurance. (3/8/2017)
  • promised "insurance for everybody" in his health care plan. (1/15/2017)
  • opposed Obamacare as an unconstitutional government overreach. (early 2010s and campaign)
  • argued for a single-payer (government-run) system. (through the 1990s and 2000s)

Why should I care about this?

  • A strategy that changes three times in three days is no strategy at all.
  • At this point, there is no reason to think that Trump has any beliefs about health care policy whatsoever.
  • Presidents who don't or can't understand that Congress doesn't work for the executive branch will probably not have much luck getting substantial legislation passed.