A cynical but popular take circulating among political media today on Twitter, and not without reason. In an era of “fake news,” hyperpartisanship, and depressing ignorance about government (psssst — the “Affordable Care Act” is ObamaCare!), it may be that not only will many Americans see photos of Trump’s press conference today and conclude that ObamaCare has been repealed but that the press conference was organized with that expectation and for that purpose.
Americans will look at Rose Garden celebration PIX and think the Affordable Care Act was repealed and replaced. (And that's the messaging)
— Alexis Simendinger (@ASimendinger) May 4, 2017
Is she wrong? Here was the top of Drudge’s page as of 4 p.m. ET:
They repealed it! Promise made, promise kept. In hindsight, Trump should have had a “Mission Accomplished” banner at his press conference on bombing Syria. Maybe 40 percent of the country would have concluded that Assad had been ousted from power and America had taken Damascus.
Even I can’t easily stomach the cynicism needed to believe voters might be this easily fooled about major legislation, so let’s go with David Harsanyi’s interpretation of the Rose Garden event instead — the celebration was designed to trumpet a rare victory in Congress and to put pressure on the Senate to deliver. McConnell and his caucus are reluctant to dive into the health-care lava pit; Trump’s telling them to come on in, the water’s fine. In fact, he vowed during today’s presser that “we’re going to get this passed through the Senate,” which is … unlikely. But a pep rally at the White House may make it easier for the Senate to produce something, especially if it gets Republican voters excited about what comes next. They do know that there’s something that comes next, right?
Here’s the president speaking on behalf of the entire country.