President Trump addressed the nation from the White House soon after the vote for the "American Health Care Act" bill was pulled Friday. He told reporters that he was disappointed in the Freedom Caucus, but blamed Democrats for not pursuing Obamacare fixes in a bipartisan fashion.
"We were very close," he began, "it was a very very tight margin. We have no Democrat support. We have no votes from the Democrats, they weren't gonna give us a single vote, so it's a very difficult thing to do."
"I've been saying for the last year and half that the best thing we could do politically speaking is let Obamacare explode," he continued, "it is exploding right now. It's, many states have big problems, almost all states have big problems. So, what would be really good with no Democrat support, if the Democrats, when it explodes, which it will soon, if they got together with us and got a real health care bill. I'd be totally open to it. And I think that's going to happen."
"I think the losers are Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer," he added, "because now they own Obamacare, they own it, one hundred percent own it. And this is not a Republican health care, this is not anything but a Democrat health care.
Trump thanked Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), saying that he worked "very hard" on the bill.
"I would have loved to have seen it pass, but again," he continued, "I think you know I was very clear, because I think there wasn't a speech I've made, or very few, where I mentioned that perhaps the best thing that could happen is exactly what happened today. Because we'll end up with a truly great health care bill in the future, after this mess known as Obamacare explodes."
"We all learned a lot," he concluded, "We learned a lot about loyalty, we learned a lot about the vote-getting process. We learned a lot about some very arcane rules in obviously both the Senate and the House."
Fox News posted the full remarks.
The president made it clear that he wasn't blaming either the Freedom Caucus or the GOP leadership and establishment, but said that he was moving on to tax reform. "No, I'm not betrayed," he explained, "they're friends of mine, I'm disappointed, because we could have had it. So I'm disappointed, I'm a little surprised, to be honest with you. We really had it, it was pretty much there, within grasp."
Trump really pressed on putting the blame on the other side, saying, "When you get no votes from the other side, meaning the Democrats, it's really a difficult situation." He also did not say that he would reach out to Democrats, but instead would wait for them to reach out to him after Obamacare "explodes."
[graphiq id="8uSpR0z5kgJ" title="RCP Poll Average for Obamacare" width="600" height="534" url="https://w.graphiq.com/w/8uSpR0z5kgJ" ]
"I never said, I guess I'm here what, 64 days?" he added, "I never said repeal and replace Obamacare, you've all heard my speeches, I never said repeal it and replace it within 64 days. I have a long time. But I want to have a great health care bill and plan, and we will."
The Obamacare replacement bill was postponed Thursday after concerns that it might not pass due to the conservative Freedom Caucus' objections, and seemed to have lost more votes Friday, when it was pulled altogether.