Politics

Trump: Republicans ‘Pander And They Grandstand’

REUTERS/Mike Theiler

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent

President Donald Trump complained Monday about Republicans not passing health care reform after years of promises.

“When I ran, I was told I’d have a bill on my desk. I’d sign it day one.” Trump said on the “Rick and Bubba” radio show. The president was speaking on the Alabama radio program in order to boost Sen. Luther Strange, who has a tough GOP Senate primary election on Tuesday.

The interview veered off from the Senate primary and Trump spoke about his grips with Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare. The current health care legislation put forward by Republican Senate leadership is facing trouble as Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain announced last week he wouldn’t vote for it.

Trump bemoaned that Republicans “repeal and replaced 61 times…but it didn’t matter because Obama was in office.”

“Now when it matters because you have a president who’s actually going to sign it, they don’t do it,” Trump said, adding, “And they pander, and they grandstand.”

He said that McCain’s “no” vote on the “skinny repeal” in July was “a tremendous slap in the face of the Republican Party.” Trump continued on to say, “Without John McCain, we already have the health care.”

An updated version of the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill is being introduced Monday and includes more benefits for Alaska in order to entice Sen. Lisa Murkowski to back the bill.

The president, however, didn’t appear too confident about the legislation.

“Looks like [Maine Sen. Susan Collins] and some others will vote against,” Trump said. “So we’re going to lose two or three votes, and that’s the end of that.”

Trump’s radio pitch about Sen. Strange focused on the premise that the incumbent senator is loyal to the Trump agenda. Strange’s opponent Moore has been consistently ahead in the polls, and is backed by former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.

The president mispronounced Moore’s name on the radio show as “Ray,” and added that “it’s not a good sign” when Trump doesn’t even know Moore’s name. Trump said during a Friday rally in Alabama, however, that he would back Moore in the general election if he were to win the primary.

He has maintained that Luther, unlike Moore, would have an easy time besting his Democratic general election opponent. Alabama has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1992.