White House officials say they are exclusively focused on helping Republican lawmakers craft and pass a health care overhaul, despite President Donald Trump’s repeated public statements about simply allowing the 2010 law to continue taking on water.
“We’re focused on Plan A,” which is Trump eventually signing a GOP-crafted overhaul bill, said White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “That’s the focus now, and that’s the only focus.”
She described Trump as “fully engaged” on that effort after multiple media reports describing him as taking a more hands-off approach than he did both times House Republicans took a swing at a health care overhaul measure.
But as recently as late Tuesday afternoon, the president himself has sent mixed messages about the need for Republicans to send him a bill.
“This will be great if we get it done,” Trump said at the start of a meeting in the White House’s East Room with nearly all 52 GOP senators. “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. I understand that very well.”
In the past, the president has talked about a possible Plan B: allowing problems to continue with Barack Obama’s 2010 law, saying that would be more politically advantageous for Republicans because Democrats would come running to strike a deal on a bipartisan plan.
Meantime, during yet another off-camera press “gaggle” — a briefing by another name — Sanders also insinuated that the White House had put a sufficient enough scare into Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to dissuade him from launching another chemical weapons attack.
Monday night, the White House issued a statement saying it appeared the Syrian regime was preparing another chemical strike and would “pay a heavy price” if that occurred.
“I think the action that the U.S. took was successful,” Sanders said, referring to the statement.
Before Sanders issued the reassuring and victorious messages about health care and Syria, the White House’s hand-picked acting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director delivered a tough message for those who might illegally enter the country.
Individuals from other countries should drop any “notion” that if they can slip into the United States and have a child here who is an American citizen, ICE officers will stop searching for them, said Thomas Homan, the agency’s temporary leader.
Under the tough-on-immigration Trump and his self-described “law-and-order” administration, Homan said, “Those days are over.”