Trump approaches Senate Democrats on health care
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.