Friday, March 24, 2017, was a good day for one president – and it wasn’t Trump. Throughout his campaign, the Great Deal Maker consistently boasted about how prodigious his deal making skills were. Yet, he couldn’t even get his Republican members to come together and support his first legislative achievement – Replace and Repeal Obamacare – even though during the Obama Administration, Republicans voted over 50 times to repeal this historic legislation. Trump was incapable of mustering at least 215 House Republicans to support him – “The thrill of victory (Obama), the agony of defeat (Trump).” Finally at the last minute before taking a vote, House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the bill from the floor and proclaimed that Obamacare was the law of the land. Of course Trump never accepts responsibility for his actions and was quick to begin the “blame game” first saying that he should not have listened to Speaker Ryan’s recommendation to proceed with repealing Obamacare, and that his failure to win was all Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer’s fault. (Surprised that he didn’t blame Obama.)
Coming down the stretch, Trump attempted to “strong-arm” some House Republicans warning them that they would pay at the ballot box if they failed to repeal and replace Obamacare, but they just wouldn’t adhere to his bullying tactics. Only Trump, Ryan and a few Republicans really supported what has become known as “Trump Care.” The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that Trump Care would leave 24 million people without insurance by 2026 who would have it under Obamacare. While the Bill would reduce the deficit by $337 billion over the next 10 years, it does so at the expense of older people. For example, older patients with low incomes would see big spikes in their premiums along with higher deductibles and out-of-pocket costs especially if they lived in rural areas where health care tends to be expensive. A 64-year-old making $26,500 would pay an average of $12,900 more per year in premium costs according to the CBO, and their insurance would not cover as much. According to a Quinnipiac University poll released on Thursday, March 23, 2017, 56 percent of U. S. voters disapprove of Trump Care, only 17 percent in favor and with 26 percent undecided.
Since he was sworn in on January 20th at President, it has been all downhill for the Trump administration. With the courts blocking one of his most significant Executive Orders – the Muslim Ban – the firing of Michael Flynn, his National Security Advisor who has ties to Russia while also serving as a lobbyist for the Turkey government, Senate and House Intelligence Committees investigations of the Trump Administration ties to Russia, and most significantly, the FBI Director’s statement that he has, “been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election,” Comey said in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. “That includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.”
In addition, Senate Democrats have started to filibuster Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, primarily on the grounds that a president who is the subject of an FBI corruption investigation and who has nominated a judge who would have a life-time appointment should be held up pending the conclusion of the investigation. Such investigation could very well include criminal charges.
Will Trump succeed with getting any significant pieces of legislation moved through congress, or with his big Trump Care loss, has he become an irrelevant president? Moreover, since his approval rating is 36%, the lowest of ANY president at this point in his administration, will the Trump administration last a full term? We will all know soon enough, but that’s just my take.