Trump ap­proaches Se­nate Democrats on health care

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - NEWS - By Philip Rucker

WASH­ING­TON — Frus­trated by Repub­li­can in­ac­tion on health care, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump tweeted Satur­day that he had reached out to the Se­nate Demo­cratic leader in hopes of bro­ker­ing a deal for a “great Health­Care Bill.”

Trump said he called Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Fri­day to ask whether Democrats would work with him on health care — and in­di­cated he had not been en­tirely re­buffed.

In a Satur­day morn­ing tweet, Trump wrote, “I called Chuck Schumer yes­ter­day to see if the Dems want to do a great Health­Care Bill. Oba­maCare is badly bro­ken, big pre­mi­ums. Who knows!”

Schumer re­sponded, say­ing he was will­ing to work with Trump to “im­prove the ex­ist­ing health care sys­tem” but not to “re­peal and re­place” the Af­ford­able Care Act, for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s sig­na­ture 2010 health care law.

Trump’s out­reach to Schumer comes af­ter the pres­i­dent in­fu­ri­ated fel­low Repub­li­cans by ne­go­ti­at­ing a deal last month with Schumer and House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to raise the debt ceil­ing and fund the gov­ern­ment. Trump’s deal­ings with “Chuck and Nancy,” as he called them, were seen by some Repub­li­cans as an act of betrayal but have earned the pres­i­dent plau­dits and framed him as the bi­par­ti­san deal­maker he said he would be.

Trump floated the po­ten­tial talks as he ap­proved an emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion for a large part of Louisiana and or­dered fed­eral as­sis­tance for the state as Hur­ri­cane Nate ap­proached the cen­tral Gulf of Mex­ico. He was also to head­line a fundraiser Satur­day night in Greens­boro, N.C., to ben­e­fit his Trump Vic­tory joint fundrais­ing com­mit­tee with the Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee.

Be­fore leav­ing for North Carolina, Trump re­peated his as­ser­tion that try­ing to ne­go­ti­ate with North Korea over its nu­clear and mis­sile pro­grams is a waste of time.

In a two-part tweet, he said: “Pres­i­dents and their ad­min­is­tra­tions have been talk­ing to North Korea for 25 years, agree­ments made and mas­sive amounts of money paid hasn’t worked, agree­ments vi­o­lated be­fore the ink was dry, mak­ings fools of U.S. ne­go­tia­tors. Sorry, but only one thing will work!”

Trump’s tweets Satur­day and ear­lier in the week were seen directed ei­ther at un­der­min­ing Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son’s ef­forts to main­tain chan­nels of com­mu­ni­ca­tion or at some­how bol­ster­ing the diplo­mat’s hand in pos­si­ble fu­ture talks.

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