Ryan was right — sort of. Trump did discuss Obamacare in Nashville. But he took his time getting to it — he brought it up nearly 28 minutes into a 38-minute speech — and he made no secret of his impatience with the complicated path House Republicans have chosen to solve the problem of dumping Barack Obama’s signature achievement without any Democratic support and without a filibuster-proof GOP majority in the Senate.
“We’re doing it a different way, a complex way, it’s fine,” Trump said, almost dismissively, of the Obamacare effort. “The end result is when you have phase one, phase two, phase three, it’s going to be great. It’s going to be great. And then — you get on to tax reductions, which I like.”
Trump spent about seven minutes, with a few diversions, talking about Obamacare. Among other things, he warmed hearts in the House leadership when he said, “The House has put forward a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, based on the principles I outlined in my joint address.”
“Hope everyone heard that,” Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong tweeted. And when Trump delivered the pitch — “The House legislation does so much for you” — Strong tweeted a screenshot of Trump’s words.
So yes, Trump did give House Republicans a show of support in the Obamacare fight. But he also sent signal after signal that he’d rather be rid of it. What that says about Trump’s willingness to fight in the long term just isn’t clear.