“I want everyone to know I'm 100 percent behind [the American Health Care Act],” President Trump said today. “The press has not been speaking properly about how great this is going to be. I watch, I say, ‘That’s not the bill we’re passing.’
But does Trump really know what’s in the bill he’s passing, or trying to pass?
With the help of Vox’s Jacob Gardenswartz, I collected and read absolutely everything Donald Trump has said publicly about the AHCA. The transcripts cover speeches, rallies, meetings with congressional leaders, interviews with friendly news outlets, and, of course, tweets.
I learned a few things from the exercise. First, Trump has a very limited set of talking points on health care, and he repeats the same words and sentences constantly — his comfort zone on both the issue and the legislation is very narrow.
Second, Trump seems confused about what the GOP bill does. It is possible, of course, that he knows more than he is saying, and has decided to simply say things that aren’t true. But it’s also possible he’s being spun by more ideologically motivated advisers (that’s certainly the narrative pro-Trump outlets like Breitbart are pushing).
Third, Trump has bought into a caricature of Obamacare’s condition that heavily informs his thinking on both the politics and the policy of the AHCA. This could prove more consequential than people realize.
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