What did we learn this week about Donald Trump?
Glad you asked!
1. He doesn’t know the system, and can’t fix anything.
Yeah, that was just part of the con. Sorry. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
2. He’s a terrible dealmaker.
Take your pick: branding, or another part of the con? It could be either!
3. Complete ignorance of/contempt for policy isn’t actually a strength.
It’s true that no one voted for Trump thinking that he was a wonk; of course, that was a big part of the appeal for a lot of people. He’s an outsider! His strength will be working the system he knows better than anyone, and cutting great deals! Yeah, well, once it’s clear that those other things are bullshit, you’re kind of just stuck with the…other stuff. Like, that he doesn’t actually know much of anything. And can’t concentrate for more than 3 minutes at a time. And says dumb stuff constantly.
4. He loves the media.
Like I always tell my kids: a thing is what it does. And for someone who says he hates the media so much, there’s absolutely no one in the entire world who loves talking to and about the media more than Donald Trump. I mean, giving interviews was the very first thing he did after the bill was pulled on Friday afternoon. There’s clearly a whole doth-protest-too-much-type dynamic present here is what I’m saying. Imagine if he’d devoted half the energy to the health care bill that he does to tweeting, and calling reporters, and watching cable news for mentions of his own name.
5. He won’t work hard for you, and he will absolutely give up.
The process to pass the Affordable Care Act stretched over 15 months, included dozens of hearings, and incorporated over 200 Republican amendments. The AHCA, by contrast, failed in, what, 20 days? And the moment the bill was pulled, Trump was blabbing to reporters about being just so done with health care, and ready to move on to tax reform.
(Also, I’m not one to criticize presidents for taking time off — it’s an incredibly difficult and stressful job — but, um, seriously: that man is CONSTANTLY going on vacation and/or golfing. It’s just weird, especially given everything he said about Obama in these areas.)
6. He really doesn’t give a shit about you.
He promised not to cut Medicaid, but the health care bill he supported included an $880 billion Medicaid cut; he promised that everyone would have insurance, but 24 million people would’ve lost coverage under his bill; he said the ACA was the worst law ever, but now he’s going to actively try to make it worse for regular people out of spite. The list goes on, and Trump made exactly zero effort to force any improvements. Seriously: everything he says about fighting for working people blah blah is — again —just another part of the con. If you want to really see the contrast, compare his administration’s efforts toward getting a better health care bill to how hard they’ve pushed back against a Russia probe. Trump will NEVER go to the wall for ANYONE but himself.
Of course, at the end of the day, we’re not even at Day 70 yet. We’ll see where things go from here, but certainly this is just the first of many policy fights to come over the next few years, and maybe even the first of multiple battles over both health care generally and the ACA in particular. And while this was at least a temporary win for the left, honestly neither side should take much pleasure from how the Trump presidency is going thus far. The only reason things haven’t gone way worse is that the Party of Trump has thus far proved too incompetent to actually accomplish much of anything.
But that may change.