Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said Thursday that it's "not important" for President Donald Trump to fully understand health care.
Cassidy made the comment just days after Senate Republicans came up short in obtaining enough votes from members within their own party to advance a bill that would repeal and replace Obamacare. On Thursday, Trump welcomed Republican senators to the White House for lunch, where he reminded them of the fact that many of them campaigned on the promise of repealing and replacing Obamacare.
For months, Trump has had a relatively limited role in crafting the health care legislation voted on and passed in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. The president played a similar role in the Senate legislation as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried, but failed, to twist enough arms to get the legislation to Trump's desk.
Trump told Senate Republicans Thursday that "inaction is not an option." Trump also urged Senate Republicans not to leave town until they get something done on health care.
That may be easier said than done, though, as Republicans lack enough votes from members within their own ranks — let alone Democratic support.
In light of these challenges, MSNBC's Hallie Jackson asked Cassidy during an interview Thursday if Trump is aware of the complexities.
"Do you think the president understands the political, the policy intricacies of this bill?" Jackson asked.
Cassidy replied candidly, saying that it's not a big deal if Trump doesn't fully understand the complexities of health care reform.
"I don't think it's important for him to understand the policy intricacies of this bill. What's important for him is to understand the principle, his principles that there should be a replace associated with repeal," Cassidy said. "And during the campaign, he consistently said he wanted to continue coverage for those who had, cover pre-existing conditions, eliminate mandates and lower premiums."
"Those are very good principles by which to go," Cassidy said.
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) explains that Trump doesn't have to understand anything about the Senate health care bill to support it. pic.twitter.com/FfzoISsuAd
— CAP Action (@CAPAction) July 20, 2017
Right now, Senate Republicans do not have enough votes to advance health care legislation. The upper chamber will remain in session for at least the first two weeks of August to try to earn enough support. The Senate typically is in recess for the entire month of August.