Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Sunday that President Donald Trump is misreading his base by tackling health care so early in his presidency.
Speaking to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Emanuel claimed that Trump made a political and policy blunder by attempting to repeal and replace Obamacare.
“He made both a political and a policy blunder in the first order which is what rookies make when they come right out of the box,” Emanuel told Zakaria.
Emanuel asserted that Congressional Republican leadership, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, are out of touch with the Trump base by pushing the repeal and replacement of Obama.
“The talk about health care vis-a-vis his base I think misread what his base wanted,” Emanuel said. “I think it was actually a total misreading of the Republican base. He actually changed the Republican base, and the Republicans in Congress aren’t up to speed with what his base is.”
Emanuel said that Trump should have started his agenda with infrastructure.
“Think about his presidency and the trajectory of his presidency had he started on the one area that was bipartisan, rather than the one area, like health care, which was going to be polarizing,” Emanuel said. “His entire presidency would be focused on the one thing he pledged, which is jobs.”
Emanuel failed to acknowledge that Trump made the immediate repeal and replacement of Obamacare a major talking point during the 2016 campaign.
“Had he started on infrastructure; one, it would have been good for the economy, two; it would have been bipartisan and three; it would have been focused on his core message which was jobs,” Emanuel said.
“He decided to do the exact opposite, which is to go to a set of policies on healthcare that would be divisive and unproductive,” he said.
Before being elected mayor of Chicago in 2011, Emanuel served as former President Barack Obama’s White House chief of staff. Emanuel has also served as a member of Congress and was a senior advisor to former President Bill Clinton.
Emanuel said that Trump’s base is “more jobs focused, more America focused.”
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