I hope you’re sitting down as you read this next sentence: Donald Trump is correct — to a point — in criticizing the congressional Republican caucus for failing to replace the Affordable Care Act.
The president, who has opened a new front in his all-out war against the Washington political establishment, tore into Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for the GOP’s failure to have a replacement ready for enactment when Trump took office.
Do I wish the Republicans had done such a thing? No. I do not like the idea of total repeal of the ACA; I would prefer mending it, fixing it, repairing what’s wrong with it.
My point about the president’s criticism is that the congressional GOP caucus had many years to come up with a replacement plan. It didn’t. It dawdled and twiddled. It didn’t have the wisdom to come up with a reasonable alternative to the ACA. It instead chose to fight with the President Barack Obama on all manner of issues.
Then came Donald Trump to the scene. He won a presidential election while making some grossly overstated promises. He pledged to take Washington by the back of its neck and shake, rattle and roll it to do his bidding.
That didn’t happen, either.
The president was right to at least expect to have a starting point on this repeal-and-replace effort regarding health care insurance. There was nothing waiting for him when he took office.
To the extent that GOP members of Congress were at fault, then the president is correct. They didn’t deliver the goods.
However, the president’s anger at the GOP breaks down because of his refusal to accept any personal responsibility for his party’s failures. It might have been better for Trump to say something like this: “The Republicans in Congress had seven years to replace ‘Obamacare,’ but they didn’t. It’s not entirely their fault, though. As the leader of the Republican Party, I must share in this disappointing outcome. I am the president of the United States, the head of the executive branch of government, which shares power with Congress. I also must share the blame. That’s part of the deal.”
Trump told McConnell that he needs to “get to work.”
Yes. So should the president.
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