The debate over why Obamacare has not yet been repealed and replaced continues, as Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has now spoken out in defense of President Trump, and dismissed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s claim that Trump simply had “unrealistic expectations.”
On Wednesday, Graham was a guest on Fox News’ “Brian Kilmeade Show” and was asked to comment on McConnell’s claim.
Earlier this week, McConnell had spoken to a Rotary group in Kentucky, where he stated, “Part of the reason I think that the storyline is that we haven’t done much is because, in part, the president and others have set these early timelines about things need to be done by a certain point. Our new president, of course, has not been in this line of work before. And I think he had excessive expectations about how quickly things happen in the democratic process.”
On Kilmeade’s radio program Wednesday, Graham responded, “I like Mitch, but for eight years, we’ve been saying we’re going to repeal and replace Obamacare. It’s not like we made this up overnight. We have been working on repealing Obamacare all year. The idea put forward didn’t pass – it was, in many ways, I think, an ill-conceived idea. I’m not moving on, I’ve got to build a block grant, give all the money we’ve spent on Obamacare back to the states, and put the governors in charge. And have fifty different solutions to healthcare rather than the Obamacare solution which is a single payer plan over time, so I’m not giving up, President Trump’s not giving up. I’m going to introduce our bill with Senator Cassidy and I hope we’ll take it up when we get back in September. There is no way to sugar coat this. The Republican party promised for eight years to repeal and replace Obamacare. We failed, and if we give up, shame on us.”
Kilmeade observed, “How can you blame President Trump for rushing the deal?”
Graham responded, “This is ridiculous. For eight years, it is like being hit by a slow-moving bus in Kansas, you can see the bus coming. The bottom line is, our bill did not test well, it was kind of Obamacare-light, to be honest with you. I’ve got a dramatically different approach. This is a Republican approach – take the money out of Washington, send it back home and let states with all the flexibility we give them design health care systems that work for them. That’s called federalism.”
“The bottom line is,” Graham continued, “we didn’t fail because we didn’t have enough time, we failed because we were not ready to solve the problem and we didn’t have the right idea. This should have been the first idea of a Republican is to take the money and power out of Washington and send it back home. Unfortunately, it was our last idea, but we’re going to take this idea and with the President Trump’s backing, and Republican governors, I’ve got a very good feeling that we can get repeal and replace done with a block grant.”
President Trump pounced on McConnell multiple times for the “unrealistic expectations” remark. On Wednesday, he tweeted, “Senator Mitch McConnell said I had “excessive expectations,” but I don’t think so. After 7 years of hearing Repeal & Replace, why not done?”
On Thursday morning, Trump went after McConnell in another Twitter post, saying, ““Can you believe that Mitch McConnell, who has screamed Repeal & Replace for 7 years, couldn’t get it done. Must Repeal & Replace ObamaCare!”
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