During his opening remarks in the East Room, POTUS said Senate Republicans and the White House are “getting very close” to reaching an agreement on a path toward the votes needed to pass the healthcare bill.
Today, at the East Room, Trump called for the meeting with GOP leaders to talk healthcare. At 4:03 p.m., most Republican senators were already sitting around tables with white table cloths and black bunting. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was sitting on the far side of the room, mostly keeping to himself and surveying the scene. Besides McConnell, Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune of South Dakota was also present.
President Trump and VP Mike Pence entered the East Room at 4:08 p.m. President Trump shook hands with some of the senators as he moved around to his seat on the far left of the room. Notably, he was sitting between health care bill holdouts Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
“Well, I thought I’d ask you, folks, to come say hello, and we’ll discuss healthcare. We have really no choice but to solve this situation. Obamacare is a total disaster,” the President said in his opening remarks.
“It’s melting down as we speak”, he continued, “Rates are going up. In fact, it’s very interesting, Lisa, that you’re sitting next to me because, in Alaska, it was 206 percent — a 206 percent increase in Alaska. And I used to use Arizona as the standard; that was 116 percent. So it’s really a meltdown, and we’re going to try and solve the problem.”
President Trump said that he thinks that they have “either 52 out of 52, or 50 out of 52” votes needed to pass the bill.
“We’re getting very close. But for the country, we have to have healthcare. And it can’t be Obamacare, which is melting down. The other side is saying all sorts of things before they even knew what the bill was. This will be great if we get it done. And if we don’t get it done, it’s just going to be something that we’re not going to like. And that’s okay, and I understand that very well.
But I think we have a chance to do something very, very important for the public — very, very important for the people of our country that we love.
So I’ll ask the press to leave. I greatly appreciate you folks being here. We love you very much. You’re very kind and very understanding. But we will now ask you to leave. Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.”
To a shouted question about his views on the legislation, POTUS said that he thinks that “the Senate bill is going to be great. Thank you, everybody. Thank you. Such an understanding lot.”