Yesterday, Donald Trump was signaling victory after his Republican Party very narrowly passed a procedural motion to begin debate on replacing ObamaCare with his inferior and poorly defined TrumpCare scheme. But last night, in its first attempt at sabotaging ObamaCare, the GOP couldn’t get out of its own way and failed by a vote of 43-57. Now Trump is clearly worried that his TrumpCare effort will fail altogether, as he’s already begun lashing out at Republicans.
This morning Trump began his day by lying on Twitter about the crowd size at his Ohio rally last night, before quickly segueing into political attacks. But instead of his usual lies about Democrats in Congress or personal insults about Hillary Clinton, Trump took an entirely different angle: “Senator Lisa Murkowski of the Great State of Alaska really let the Republicans, and our country, down yesterday. Too bad!” (link). Murkowski and Susan Collins were the two Republicans who voted against opening up debate.
Trump appears to have concluded that either Lisa Murkowski is to blame for how things went last night, or that she’s capable of being flipped. And he is correct in that Murkowski is less of a sure “no” than Collins. But Trump is ignoring the fact that during last night’s repeal and replace vote, a whopping nine Republican Senators voted against his wishes: Murkowski, Collins, Bob Corker, Tom Cotton, Lindsey Graham, Dean Heller, Mike Lee, Jerry Moran, and Rand Paul.
The morning isn’t over yet, so it’s possible that Trump will eventually end up picking public fights with additional Senators from his own party (we’ll add the caveat that we believe Anthony Scaramucci has been ghost-tweeting for Trump since he was hired, and that Trump may not have actually tweeted anything in weeks). But he’s chosen an odd way of getting things started, suggesting that he fears he can’t cajole the entire Republican caucus into siding with him, and he’s instead content to take out his frustrations on his designated scapegoats.
It’s also notable that Donald Trump spent last night hundreds of miles away from Washington DC at a rally with his own base, instead of remaining in DC to try to win over votes. Trump uses these rallies as an excuse to raise money for a pretend 2020 reelection campaign, and then he uses that money to pay his Russia scandal legal fees. So Trump was more interested in scamming a buck last night than he was in putting in any effort on getting TrumpCare passed – which further suggests he’s not particularly hopeful. Those who want to save ObamaCare should call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be transferred to each of the above listed Republican Senators.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report