Thursday, September 28, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He insisted, against all evidence, that there really were 50 votes in the Senate for the latest version of Trumpcare.

Appearing this morning on Fox & Friends, Trump refused to admit that the Graham-Cassidy health care bill had failed to get the necessary 50 votes to pass the Senate. Instead, to the obvious confusion of the hosts, he claimed that "Health care didn't go down. We have the votes." 

Trump does not have the votes, and there will be no vote. By way of explaining that, Trump repeated his (incorrect) assertion from yesterday that the only reason the bill wouldn't pass was that an unnamed GOP senator was in the hospital. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) is receiving medical treatment, but is not hospital-bound, and had already forlornly posted "I'm not hospitalized" to Twitter before Trump once again declared that Cochran was, indeed, in the hospital.

There are 52 Republicans in the Senate. Three (Rand Paul, John McCain, and Susan Collins) have declared themselves unwilling to vote for the bill, and at least one more (Lisa Murkowski) had not taken a position but had already voted against the previous Trumpcare bill. Another two (Ted Cruz and Mike Lee) had refused to take a position when majority leader Mitch McConnell pulled the bill.

Why does this matter?

  • Presidents cannot make a number less than 50 equal to 50 simply by insisting that it is.